University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Disciplinary Boundaries and Professional Expectations: an Ordinary Search

Lipscomb, Martin ORCID: (2017) Disciplinary Boundaries and Professional Expectations: an Ordinary Search. In: Beyond Boundaries - University of Worcester Annual Learning, Teaching & Student Experience Conference, 15th - 16th June 2017, University of Worcester, UK. (Unpublished)

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Healthcare professionals (e.g., nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics etc.) use evidence to justify and underpin the activity or performance of practitioners. That is, evidence is deployed to defend practice and/or it sanctions change aimed at improving practice. Colloquially, the term “evidence based practice” (EBP) summaries and describes these activities or objectives. And the idea that professionals can practice in the absence of evidence is, today, difficult to sustain. EBP involves, among much else, the location and appraisal of literature. Thus, searches locate literature, and review or appraisal processes determine whether what has been found is robust enough to fulfil the role allotted to evidence. EBP works well for technical and ‘treatment option’ questions (e.g., “is this dressing more absorbent than that dressing in these circumstances?”). However, healthcare professionals legitimately and persistently interest themselves in, for example, normative and/or ethical questions. These can be addressed but not be answered using traditional scientific and/or biomedical knowledge (i.e., research report findings) and, faced with such questions, EBP, as commonly conceived, falters. In this presentation I use an example drawn from personal experience to highlight just a few of the problematic issues that are thrown up for professionals when an ‘everyday’ search transgresses (as many potentially do) disciplinary boundaries and professional expectations. My presentation focuses on the nebulous quality of ‘relevance’ and ‘evidence’ for practitioners. I conclude by proposing that substantive interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary understanding is difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve for professionals working within social and cultural structures that underscore and maintain disciplinary boundaries.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Evidence Based Practice, EBP, healthcare professions, disciplinary boundaries, professional expectations
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Depositing User: Martin Lipscomb
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2017 15:23
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:18

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