Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an essential requirement for all members of the WA Occupational Therapy Association and is fundamental to the development and maintenance of Occupational Therapy skills and the enhancement of patient care. This requirement is cited in the Standards of Conduct and Practice 2004, section 14 (OT AUSTRALIA WA [former name of the WA Occupational Therapy Association]) and is also a requirement of the National Registration Board.

The WA Occupational Therapy Association expects its members to:

  • Engage in CPD activities to maintain standards of excellence in Occupational Therapy practice
  • Engage in evidence-based CPD and programmes
  • Ensure awareness of and compliance with regulatory requirements for learning and professional development
  • Develop formal or informal networks to encourage integration of learning and evidence-based knowledge into practice
  • Create a personal portfolio which records reflective learning and CPD activity, and serves as a record for audit purposes.

WA Occupational Therapy Association’s Initiatives
In order to promote continuing professional education in occupational therapy in WA, the WA Occupational Therapy Association will:

  • Provide CPD opportunities via workshops and courses
  • Support and encourage the continuance and development of Affiliated Interest Groups
  • Create a database to assist members to record their CDP activities
  • Take opportunities to provide CPD events in partnership with other organisations
  • Develop a set of minimum standard requirements for annual CPD

Procedure/ Implementation
WA Occupational Therapy Association’s framework for CPD will allow for:

  • adequate goal setting and recording of personal professional goals
  • continuous and accurate recording of professional development activities which provides a written profile containing evidence of participation evaluation and recording of progress toward achievement of goals
  • a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice assurance that CPD has contributed to the quality of OT Practice and service delivery and a change in Professional behaviour/practice through reflective practice (see below)

Participation in WA Occupational Therapy Association’s CPD program:

  • Will be provided free of charge to all WA Occupational Therapy Association members as a member service and benefit, but is not compulsory or determined to be the only CPD avenue available to WA Occupational Therapy Association members
  • Will NOT be available to WA Occupational Therapy Association non-members
  • Will have a 1 year cycle of participation from 1st July to 30th June in keeping with the OT Registration Board of WA’s current auditing process cycle
  • Will be based on a system of hours of participation with limits to the number of points allowed in several categories in order to encourage diversity of professional development
  • Will make record keeping and proof of attendance records mandatory and the responsibility of the individual
  • Be set at a minimum requirement

The WA Occupational Therapy Association will submit its own program to the National Registration Body and seek approval that it meets its CPD requirements in the future.

Guide to reflection
Reflective practice is a continuous process to “thoughtfully consider one’s own experiences in applying knowledge to practice” (Sch?n 1983). It aims to “promote development in practitioners to improve the quality of care, stimulating personal and professional growth and closing the gap between theory and practice” (Jasper 2003).

There are several models of reflection that can be used but the principles remain the same. The reflective cycle is based on a series of cue questions that can be used to analyse an incident or learning experience.  Examples of when reflection may be used include:

  • Following a critical incident (a challenging &/or successful situation) in a clinical or management scenario
  • To consider how learning from a course / journal review / workshop can be applied to practice
  • During or after supervision / mentoring / shadowing

Questions that may be used to assist reflection:

  1. Identify and describe the issue (what were the important factors about the issue?)
  2. Reflect and analyse the issue (why did things happen the way they did? What factors influenced what happened? What emotions were involved? Challenge assumptions)
  3. Consider the alternatives (could things have been done differently? Would I do things differently next time?)
  4. What has been learnt from the situation? Do my actions need to change?

WA Occupational Therapy Association recommends you complete a few lines of reflection after a learning experience to demonstrate the application of that learning into practice.

Further reading:

Atkins, S and Murphy, K (1994) Reflective Practice Nursing Standard 8 (39) 49-56.

Gibbs, G (1998) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic

Johns, C (1994) Nuances of reflection Journal of Clinical Nursing 3 (2) 71-75

Sch?n, Donald (1983), The Reflective Practitioner www.infed.org/thinkers/et-schon.htm

Greenway, R (2002), Experiential Learning Cycles

Atherson, J S (2010) Learning and Teaching; Reflection and Reflective Practice (on-line) UK: Available: www.learningandteaching.info/learning/reflecti.htm