Engaging, enabling and embedding professionalism through scrutiny of practice in healthcare
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Introduction: This portfolio presents a critical synthesis of the nature and significance of a programme of research, spanning a decade of the candidate’s academic career as a dual-registered nurse and midwife. Collaborative studies exploring pre-registration assessment of practice and post-registration revalidation in healthcare and social work have made a distinct contribution to the body of knowledge, through national and international dissemination. Findings from the set of nine published works continue to influence academic and clinical contexts, while also contributing to the evidence-base informing professional policy.
Aim: A conceptual framework is proposed, which seeks to advance the purpose of practice assessment and revalidation in healthcare through engaging individuals, enabling robust assessment processes and embedding positive attitudes to professional scrutiny.
Objectives: 1. To present the evidence from a range of research projects which have extended the body of professional knowledge relating to pre-registration assessment of practice and maintenance of healthcare registration through revalidation. 2. To appraise synergies between these pre-registration and post-registration processes, synthesised from the published outputs. 3. To formulate a conceptual model which promotes a continuum of purposeful professional development.
Methods: A range of methodologies was used to explore pre-registration practice assessment and post-registration revalidation in healthcare and social work. Mixed methods included an emphasis on qualitative data, although quantitative elements were included to identify trends. Research designs comprised longitudinal case studies, surveys, descriptive evaluations and a mini-Delphi discussion. One of the main projects within the programme of research, which generated four papers, included a focus on the action research process. The nature and significance of this research portfolio is demonstrated through systematic synthesis of the outputs, demonstrating coherence across the studies. The strengths and limitations of the programme of research and the leadership role of the candidate are reflexively critiqued.
Results and recommendations: Interrogation of the themes identified in both practice assessment and revalidation has identified commonalities in both facilitative and obstructive influences. Findings from this programme of research have corroborated much of the existing evidence-base, while methodological approaches have produced new interpretations and creative innovations. The research portfolio highlights that professional attitudes to scrutiny of practice are core to understanding and fulfilling the purpose of both practice assessment and revalidation. All stakeholders need to be prepared to engage in these processes by accepting responsibility for their own and others’ ongoing development. Robust methods with a clear purpose enable professional growth and embed positive attitudes, thereby promoting safe and accountable practice throughout the individual’s professional career. The evidence from this programme of research is integrated in a conceptual model which demonstrates the continuum from pre-registration period to qualified practitioner and beyond.