Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Competant, Proficient or Expert

image: St Pancreas Station statue
One of our recent posts has been discussing the issue of what undergraduates need to know. I did consider leaving this thought as a comment on this post - but decided to create a new post instead and would be keen to know your thoughts.
I really like what Creek(2009) has to say in her letter "Achieving a higher level of expertise". In this letter she discusses the nature of expertise in practice and states that within education, students are "taught that using a model for practice represents the highest level of skill" of the OT - a point she refutes by using Benner and Tanner's (1987) work on how expert nurses work and her own description of expert practice "the context of the intervention modifies the occupational therapy process and the therapists thinking, negotiation and action" (Creek 2003 p17).
The point she is making in this letter is that undergraduates are taught how to be competant and not proficient or expert in occupational therapy- therefore undergraduates need to understand that their approach to models of practice tends to be limited to an acceptable yet limited standardised and routine approach. Only with practice and experience can this be moved forward. Therefore those practitioners that are flexible, responsive and 'eclectic' with their use of models and interventions could be said to be practicing at a proficient and/or expert level.

Benner P, Tanner C (1987) Clinical Judgement: how expert nurses use intuition AmJ Nursing Jan 23-31
Creek J (2003) Occupational Therapy defined as a complex intervention London:COT
Creek J (2009) Letters to the Editor: Achieving a higher level of expertise BJOT 72(2) 90