Professional expertise amongst speech-language therapists: “willing to share”

Bianca N. Jackson (Department of Speech Science, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Suzanne Carolyn Purdy (Department of Speech Science, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Helena Cooper-Thomas (Department of Management, School of Business, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Publication date: 18 September 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The current healthcare environment provides several challenges to the existing roles of healthcare professionals. The value of the professional expert is also under scrutiny. The purpose of this paper is to generate a construction of professional expertise amongst practitioners in the current healthcare environment. It used the speech-language therapy community in New Zealand (NZ) as an example.

Design/methodology/approach

Speech-language therapists currently practicing in NZ completed an online survey including qualitative and quantitative components. The range of experience and work settings of participants (n=119) was representative of the workforce.

Findings

Participants clearly identified being “highly experienced” and “having in-depth knowledge” as essential elements of professional expertise. Thematic analysis generated two interconnected themes of a professional expert being a personal leader and teacher, and a highly experienced, knowledgeable and skilful practitioner. Additionally, practitioners needed to be seen to contribute to the community in order to be known as experts. Clinical practice was valued differently from research generation.

Originality/value

This study is novel in exploring a construction of professional expertise amongst practitioners in a current healthcare community. Within that community, experts could be viewed as highly effective practitioners that visibly contribute to the professional community. The study draws attention to the role of reputation and the impacts of being a clinical teacher or leader compared with pursuing a research role. This could be particularly relevant in the promotion of evidence-based practice.

Keywords

Citation

Jackson, B.N., Purdy, S.C. and Cooper-Thomas, H. (2017), "Professional expertise amongst speech-language therapists: “willing to share”", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 614-629. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-03-2017-0045

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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