An exploratory study examining critical experiences and influences on professional identity of allied health students during clinical placement in a regional health service

Furness, Linda Joy (2020) An exploratory study examining critical experiences and influences on professional identity of allied health students during clinical placement in a regional health service. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

Background:
Significant investment has been put into supporting clinical placements to facilitate work-ready allied health professionals. Clinical placements in regional locations provide student health professionals with diverse learning opportunities. Engaging in clinical work and learning from role models and peers in the workplace are primary ways allied health students develop professional skills, behaviour and identities as a health professional. This Professional Studies thesis explores the influences that are supporting allied health students who are undertaking clinical placements in a regional health service, in Queensland, Australia, to think, feel and act like health professionals.

Methods:
A qualitative study comprising focus group discussions and a document review were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to analyse transcripts from the focus group discussions and of clinical education placement documents. A deductive framework based on Merton’s definition of professional identity ‘to think, act and feel like a health professional’ was used to inform and frame the data analysis.

Participants:
Participants of the study included allied health staff whose roles support clinical placement education in the health service (n=17), allied health students on placement (n=12) and new graduates in their first two years of practice working in the regional health service (n=11), and these all participated in separate focus groups. Clinical education documents used in the health service for orientation (n=13) and competency assessment (n=20) were reviewed.

Results:
Three overall themes about the influences of clinical placements on the development of professional identity for allied health students were identified. Using a framework of think/feel/act, the themes I have identified were:

1) Thinking supported by quality learning
2) Feeling supported by socialisation into the workplace community of practice
3) Acting supported by workplace affordances.

Suggested actions that can be implemented by a health service to support students completing clinical placements include the development of a learning partnership between student and clinical educator with clear expectations and opportunities for reflection and supervision; creating a workplace culture where students are valued and balancing student’s autonomy with graded learning to increase their independence. This research has contributed to professional practice through the revision of a conceptual framework for professional identity development by. The results of this research have been applied to practice in the candidate’s role as a Clinical Education Support Officer in the health service, through presentations to clinical educators and publications.

Conclusions:
The findings from this research show that the diverse work environment and experiences in a rural setting provide unique opportunities for students to begin to think, feel, and act as health professionals. Suggestions provided by students and new graduates can be used to inform the implementation of clinical placement experiences. These suggestions will be of interest to regional services providing student placements, universities providing student education and organisations providing professional development for clinical educators.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Professional Studies thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Supervisors: Ostini, Jenny; Tynan, Anna
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2020 03:01
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: allied health, clinical education, professional identity, regional, rural, clinical placements
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130209 Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420305 Health and community services
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390110 Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420319 Primary health care
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/sq8h-p832
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39873

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