The importance of reflecting on practice: How personal professional development activities affect perceived teamwork and performance

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2018, 27 (21-22), pp. 3988 - 3999
Issue Date:
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aims and objectives: To examine the relationships between participation in personal professional development activities (e.g., coaching, mentoring), teamwork and performance; to investigate the mediating and moderating effects of reflective thinking and perceived usefulness of development activities. Background: Professional development is associated with better performance and attitudes towards one's work. This study adds to this research by focusing on understanding this effect and the conditions under which this occurs. Design: Cross-sectional survey study. Methods: Participants were 244 nurses working in a large, metropolitan acute public hospital. They completed a questionnaire consisting of validated measures and provided information on frequency of participation and perceived usefulness of personal professional development activities. We analysed data using regression-based moderated mediation analyses. Results: The relationship between frequency of participation in personal professional development activities and both perceived teamwork and performance was mediated by reflective thinking. Perceived usefulness of development activities moderated the relationship between frequency of participation in personal professional development activities and reflective thinking. Conclusion: Our results highlight the importance of professional development activities that go beyond knowledge- or skill-based training. Activities that cater to nurses’ personal professional development needs are also associated with more positively perceived teamwork and performance. Results provide insights into the mediating mechanisms: Participation in personal professional development activities encouraged reflective thinking, which was associated with better perceived teamwork and performance. This association between personal professional development activities and reflective thinking was even stronger where nurses perceived the activities as useful. Relevance to clinical practice: Personal professional development activities enhance reflection in and on practice as these activities were linked with higher perceived quality of care and teamworking. It is important to ensure that the positive effects of personal professional development activities should target nurses’ professional development needs and need to be perceived as useful by those who undertake them.
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