Promoting Staff Development in Occupational Therapy: a Reflective Group Approach

$19.38 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


Staff development is a vital aspect of professional practice. It enables occupational therapists to observe latest practice and upgrade standards appropriately. Staff development opportunities often ensure that practitioners have access to theoretical knowledge as the basis for improving practice. This approach may be ineffective or minimally effective if it provides only theoretical professional knowledge and is not integrated into everyday practice. A more productive staff development procedure involves an exploration of practical knowledge. This is not theoretical knowledge about practice, but the kind embedded in practice. Such practical theories gained through reflective processes may be discussed informally during workplace interactions but rarely are opportunities available for therapists to articulate these in a systematic way.

Given the above, this paper reports on the procedures of a staff development research project which engaged a sample of practising occupational therapists from the Dunedin community in a process of reflective group practice. The project focused on two main questions: what are the issues that influence practice? And are the uses of reflective peer groups an effective staff development strategy?

Two themes emerged from the investigation, the first being that practice is fraught with uncertainties and the second that the aims of occupational therapists are not necessarily supported by other health team members. These two themes highlight the notion that occupational therapists cannot rely on theoretical knowledge, alone prior to graduation and that practical knowledge plays a substantial part in their learning. The use of reflective groups was endorsed by all participants as a viable method of staff development. The reported effectiveness was in facilitating change at various levels: simple raising of awareness; encounters with ideas of others different from one's own; stated intention to change practice in light of new insights; and reports of actual changes because of group insights.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1998

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more