Towards a definition of professionalism in Australian occupational therapy: using the Delphi technique to obtain consensus on essential values and behaviours

Aguilar, Alejandra, Stupans, Ieva, Scutter, Sheila, and King, Sharron (2013) Towards a definition of professionalism in Australian occupational therapy: using the Delphi technique to obtain consensus on essential values and behaviours. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60 (3). pp. 206-216.

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Abstract

Background/aim: Professionalism involves practitioners applying the values of their profession and demonstrating essential professional behaviours and attitudes. Within the Australian occupational therapy profession, there is little research on the values, behaviours and attitudes that constitute professionalism. As a result, there is limited understanding of professionalism, and the approaches used to enhance the professionalism of future practitioners are not evidence based. This study aimed to contribute to the understanding of professionalism within the Australian occupational therapy profession, by obtaining consensus among Australian occupational therapists on the professional values and behaviours essential for practice.

Method: A constructivist paradigm guided this study. The Delphi technique was used to obtain consensus on essential professional values and behaviours among 68 occupational therapists. Consensus was identified by numerical and content analysis.

Results: After two Delphi rounds, 61 professional values were identified as essential for practice. These values related to ethical practice, client-centred practice, contemporary practice and to the foundational beliefs of the profession. Seven professional behaviours also achieved consensus, but there was clear disparity in participants' opinions.

Conclusion: The results provide insight into several professional values and behaviours perceived as essential for practice. Consequently, these professional values need to be taken into consideration when defining the values of the profession. The professional behaviours need to be taken into account when finalising the essential behaviours that constitute professionalism in the profession. This study takes an initial but fundamental step towards defining professionalism within the Australian occupational therapy profession.

Item ID: 28744
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0045-0766
Keywords: Delphi technique, professional practice, social values
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 05:37
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl Physiotherapy) @ 80%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 80%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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