‘What perceptions do expert clinicians in a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit hold towards the experience of Workplace Initiated Learning as a means to maintain expertise?: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Background: Current literature identifies the importance of lifelong learning (Billett,
2016, Dornan, 2012; Williams, 2010), and professional bodies require clinicians to
evidence this commitment, deliver patient-centred Evidence Based Practice and
accommodate dynamic interprofessional working practices (General Medical Council
(GMC), 2013; Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2015; General Pharmaceutical
Council (GPC), 2017; Health Care Professions Council (HPCP), 2016). Research into
clinical workplace learning has more commonly focused on pre-registration and undergraduate
learners and those new to such professional roles (Eraut, 2011; Dornan, 2012).
This study explores the experiences of clinicians beyond this stage, with participants
illustrative of the senior professions within the clinical team. Level of expertise is defined
by their role and qualifications (Gobet, 2016).
Aim: To explore the ways in which individual clinicians within an expert
multiprofessional team, in the context of a paediatric intensive care unit, experience
workplace-initiated learning within the clinical workplace, to increase understanding of
this under-researched form of learning at the ‘expert’ level of practice, and to inform
the development of experts of the future
Method: Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodology, data
were obtained via semi-structured interviews with ten senior clinicians - nurses, doctors,
advanced nurse practitioners and a pharmacist. Interviews were recorded, transcribed
verbatim, and iteratively analysed.
Results: ‘The needs of the child and their family’ – the master theme – evidenced a
dynamic informal workplace curriculum and fundamentally influenced learning. The first
super-ordinate theme, ‘The clinical workplace’ demonstrated processes of learning in
this context and the second, the professed ‘self-identities’ of the participants identified
motivational factors.
Summary: This study gives the distinctive perspective of continued learning in the
workplace, as experienced by a multiprofessional team of expert clinicians, identifying
the drivers influencing the informal workplace curriculum, and the mechanisms by
which such practice is not only maintained but also sustained over the course of a
Date of Award5 Sept 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorJEREMY BROWN (Director of Studies) & CAROL KELLY (Supervisor)

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