The current climate of accountability and public scrutiny in the health and social care professions demands a high level of responsibility by health professionals in terms of understanding, updating and credibly using their professional knowledge. To achieve this, health professionals need to acknowledge the wide variety of sources from which their knowledge is generated: they need a sound working knowledge of practice epistemology which investigates the nature of knowledge and knowledge generation which underlies practice. The call from community, governments and employers is for evidence-based practice with the expectation that health professionals fully understand the knowledge which underpins their practice and can therefore justify their practice. This book examines the nature, generation and development of professional knowledge in the health professions, with particular emphasis on physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medicine and nursing. It is a user-friendly resource book accessible for practitioners, clinical educators, tertiary educators, research students and researchers. What constitutes practice knowledge? How is this knowledge created and developed?
What roles do health professionals play in understanding and developing their practice knowledge? Readers, whether from a practice, education or research background, are invited to consider the implications of these questions for their practice. More than ever, the rapidly changing worlds of work and society are providing many challenges to the adequacy of the knowledge bases of the health professions and the capacity of health professionals to critique and develop their knowledge to meet community needs. These issues are explored in this book.