Reflection in occupational therapy practice: A survey of Australian occupational therapists

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction and rationale
Reflection is a stated element of occupational therapy competency. It contributes to professional practice and lifelong learning, is a necessary component of the knowledge-practice-transfer process, and is used to facilitate and demonstrate engagement in continuing professional development and fitness to practice. However the conceptualisation and operationalisation of reflection within occupational therapy practice has not been mapped, reviewed or summarised.
The purpose of this study was to understand how reflection is currently conceptualised and operationalised by Australian occupational therapists across a range of practice settings.
An exploratory, cross sectional design, which utilised a self-administered mixed-method survey developed and pilot tested for this study. It was distributed to all Occupational Therapy Australia members through the e-bulletin. Percentage and frequency distributions were used to explore and summarise the data, and relationships between categorical variables were examined using Chi-squared tests. Open ended responses were thematically analysed.
104 surveys were returned. Findings included that: reflection is inconsistently and variously conceptualised and operationalised; is not underpinned by a specified theory or model; and journaling was the least used method. Years of experience and work setting were related to how reflection was defined. Further practice based research, the development of profession specific methods, and a revision of how reflection is conceived of and taught within occupational therapy education is warranted.
Occupational therapists should consider developing and researching reflection models and methods that will be most appropriate to the settings, challenges and issues found within occupational therapy practice.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventOccupational Therapy Australia National Conference and Exhibition 2017: Partnership, Inclusion and Innovation - Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 19 Jul 201721 Jul 2017
Conference number: 27th


ConferenceOccupational Therapy Australia National Conference and Exhibition 2017
Abbreviated titleOTAUS 2017

Cite this