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Describing a Clinical Group Coding Method for Identifying Competencies in an Allied Health Single Session

Authors Craig SL, McInroy LB, Eaton AD

Received 1 August 2020

Accepted for publication 4 September 2020

Published 9 October 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1133—1142


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Shelley L Craig,1 Lauren B McInroy,2 Andrew D Eaton3

1Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) at the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S1V4, Canada; 2College of Social Work at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA; 3FIFSW at the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S1V4, Canada

Correspondence: Shelley L Craig
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) at the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S1V4, Canada
Tel +1416-978-8847
Fax +1416-978-7072

Introduction: Competencies that integrate research findings and practice expertise are necessary to maintain comprehensive evidence-based practice for allied health professions, such as social work. The context of modern multidisciplinary healthcare, especially in acute or emergency settings, means that an individual clinician may only have a single session with a patient. Maximizing the benefit of single sessions requires advanced competence that extends beyond diagnostics and biomedical treatments to the impact of social systems on health outcomes; multi-level advocacy for reduction of existing health disparities and equity in access to health and mental health services; and “working knowledge” of non-pharmacological treatments.
Methods: This study employed a practice-based research methodology whereby health social workers group coded 32 simulation videos, drawn from an advanced social work practice course, to develop a practice-based competency framework that incorporates these advanced skills. Constructivist grounded theory was employed through a cyclical coding process of viewing video data, identifying and discussing skills and competencies, and summarizing/synthesizing the discussions for critical reflection.
Results: The resulting Clinician Group Coding Method utilized systematic and collaborative group coding of practice simulation videos by three clinicians and two researchers to identify relevant competencies for a single session. Emphasis was placed on the progressive phases of single-session patient interactions (eg, joining, working, ending), a practice format that frequently occurs in social work and other allied health professions. These phases include themes of preparing, agenda setting and refining, addressing context, providing education, planning the next steps, and encouraging success.
Discussion: The group coding process allowed for immediate discussions and clarifications, supporting the clinicians to synthesize their experiences toward shared understandings of “best practices” in single-session healthcare contexts. This approach facilitated the understanding of critical actions that allied health clinicians could undertake to improve single-session interactions. This practice-based competency framework may have significant utility for multidisciplinary healthcare education and practice.

Keywords: simulation, practice-based research, competence, allied health, group coding, education

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