'The lived experience of early career occupational therapists: an exploration of their current and potential capacity to engage in research' by Michaela Higginson (Head of Directorate, Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences)

12:30pm - 1:30pm / Monday 4th June 2018
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Centre for Higher Education Studies
  • Admission: Free. Please contact hlcevent@liverpool.ac.uk to book.
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There is a continued need to build research capacity within the allied health professions (Council for Allied Health Professions Research, 2016). As one of the larger allied health professions this is also the case for occupational therapy. Each year there are approximately 1,000 graduate occupational therapists entering the health and social care workforce, joining what is a current UK community of 38, 183 qualified occupational therapists (HCPC, 2018). A requirement of being a professional occupational therapist, is adherence to professional standards, including a commitment to advancement of the evidence base through engagement with research activity (COT, 2015).

This study provides in-depth understanding of the experiences of eight early career occupational therapists. All of the participants graduated with a first class (Hons) degree in occupational therapy from one UK University. Findings from using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) indicate that contribution to research capacity can be problematic due to personal and environmental challenges. The findings also indicate that there is uncertainty about what the term research means, and that there is difference in how early career occupational therapists are contributing to research capacity in their practice. A conclusion from this study is that there is a need for clarity about the language used to frame research. This reframing of language should acknowledge a continuum of research activities, all of which can contribute to individual research capacity building and the research capacity of the profession.

This presentation will focus on the findings from this study and the implication of the findings on Michaela's practice as an occupational therapy educator within a higher education context.