Centre for Remote Health

The structure of novice and expert occupational therapists' clinical reasoning before and after exposure to a domain-specific protocol

Type of Publication:
Diagnostic ReasoningExpert CliniciansMuscle Hypertonia -- RehabilitationNovice CliniciansOccupational TherapistsOccupational Therapy PracticeAnalysis of VarianceBrain Injuries -- ComplicationsData Analysis SoftwareFactor AnalysisFemale
  • Kuipers K
  • Grice JW
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal
Accession Number: 2010464981. Language: English. Entry Date: 20100115. Revision Date: 20100115. Publication Type: journal article; research; tables/charts. Journal Subset: Allied Health; Australia & New Zealand; Peer Reviewed. Special Interest: Occupational Therapy. No. of Refs: 25 ref. NLM UID: 15420200R.
Background/aim: The research aimed to determine the influence of a protocol designed for use in the domain of upper limb hypertonia due to brain injury on novice and expert occupational therapy clinical reasoning. Method: Individual, structured repertory grid interviews were completed with 13 novice and eight expert occupational therapists prior to, and following, exposure to a domain-specific clinical reasoning protocol. Data were subjected to quantitative analyses (Principal Components Analysis, Generalised Procrustes Analysis). Results: Novice participants demonstrated statistically significant change in the structure of their clinical reasoning following exposure to the protocol ( P < 0.004). Prior to exposure, novices relied on therapy tasks, the problem-solving process, environmental factors and standard practice to structure their reasoning. Following exposure, novices' clinical reasoning changed to more closely reflect experts' reasoning. Thus, a 'structured approach' and (theoretical) practice perspectives became evident. Prior to exposure to the protocol, experts structured reasoning in terms of (personal and theoretical) practice perspectives, therapy tasks and the scope of such tasks (either 'general' or 'specific'). Following exposure, therapist/client collaboration and upper-limb-related constructs emerged as being used to structure experts' reasoning, although these changes were not statistically significant. Conclusion: A protocol designed for guiding clinical reasoning in the context of upper limb hypertonia was perceived to be conceptually useful by novice and expert occupational therapists.