Evaluating an online occupational therapy community of practice and its role in supporting occupational therapy practice

Hoffmann, Tammy, Desha, Laura and Verrall, Kellie (2011) Evaluating an online occupational therapy community of practice and its role in supporting occupational therapy practice. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58 5: 337-345. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1630.2011.00954.x


Author Hoffmann, Tammy
Desha, Laura
Verrall, Kellie
Title Evaluating an online occupational therapy community of practice and its role in supporting occupational therapy practice
Journal name Australian Occupational Therapy Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0045-0766
1440-1630
Publication date 2011-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2011.00954.x
Volume 58
Issue 5
Start page 337
End page 345
Total pages 9
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background/aim:  Networking, together with knowledge acquisition and resource sharing, are key components of occupational therapists’ professional development. To enhance the connectedness and clinical support available to occupational therapists, OT AUSTRALIA Queensland developed an online community of practice (CoP). No research regarding the use of online CoPs by occupational therapists has been conducted. This study aimed to explore occupational therapists’ perceptions of the benefits of, barriers to, and reasons for using or not using the online CoP.

Methods:  Two focus groups were conducted, one with therapists who had used the CoP (n = 5) and the other with therapists who had not used it (n = 9). Participant responses to focus group questions informed the development of a survey asking therapists about their use of the CoP, its benefits and reasons for using/not using it, which was sent via email to all OT AUSTRALIA Queensland members.

Results:  Motivation to use the CoP, technology, workload management impacts, potential benefits and time considerations emerged as themes from the focus groups. Of the 55 survey respondents, 58.2% were aware of the CoP but only 32.7% had accessed it. Potential benefits of the CoP identified by participants included time efficiency, structural flexibility, networking capabilities and mentoring opportunities. Reasons for not accessing and/or participating in the CoP included access difficulties, usability difficulties, personal communication preferences and perceived irrelevance of available information.

Conclusion:  The findings of this study suggest that the CoP is still in the early stages of development; however, it has the potential to be further embraced by therapists if further promotion, training and minor usability modifications are undertaken.
Keyword Allied health
Internet
Professional ⁄ peer support
Technology
Virtual communities
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 05 Oct 2011, 09:29:25 EST by Miss Laura Desha on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences