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Doctor of Health Science, Master of Occupational Therapy (Uni of South Australia), Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy)
My doctoral research explored how eight occupational therapists working with children and families translated knowledge to inform their practice. The study also explored how participation in the project enabled occupational therapists to overcome concerns about the legitimacy of ‘accepted’ occupational therapy practices with children and families. Using a critical action research methodology, a transformative community of practice was created with the eight co-researchers, and a contemporary occupational therapy textbook was used as a guide to both the meetings and the process of practice transformation. Critical conversations within the community of practice were collected as project data and analysed reflectively and thematically. During analysis, data were allocated to two action phases; a deconstructive-planning phase (named as occupation-inaction), and an action-reconstruction phase (named as occupation-in-action).
Findings from the study suggested that occupational practice was possible when:
1. The courage and investment for practice transformation was acknowledged;
2. The power, press, and privilege of the practice context (the space and place where practice happens) was addressed;
3. A shared space was created to explore and critique social influences practice; and
4. ‘Occupational-knowledge’ was co-constructed and actively translated to inform and transform occupational practice.
The critical moments in occupational practice transformation were consolidated into the VENIA model, presented as a way to support practitioners to actively engage in meaningful practice transformation. Findings and recommendations from the study will resonate with occupational therapists working in a range of practice settings struggling to connect their practice with an occupational philosophy.