A crucible model for understanding learning in clinical workplace spaces

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    The fundamental influence of health contexts on the shaping of professional practice (Higgs & Titchen, 2001) highlights an important need to develop a holistic understanding of clinical workplaces as contexts for the development of professional practice capabilities and the enactment of health professional practices. This chapter draws together the broad range of complex and dynamic learning spaces within clinical workplaces that shape student learning (presented in Chapter 10 Clinical learning spaces) and the professional practice capabilities that are developed within those spaces (presented in Chapter 2) and introduces the concept of clinical workplace learning as a professional development crucible. The professional development crucible model was a key finding of my doctoral research therefore this chapter is underpinned by the findings from that research (Patton, 2014).In this chapter clinical workplace learning is represented as a coalescence of multiple situational, relational, cultural and temporal workplace factors that influence and shape student learning. In the professional development crucible clinical workplace learning is interpreted as a fluid learning space where four key spaces interact to critically shape and challenge the development of students’professional practice capabilities. These four key spaces are:1. Workplace influences. 2. Clinical supervisors’ intentions and actions 3. Students’ dispositions and experiences 4. Engagement in professional practices. Each of these four key spaces is a multidimensional, fluid, contested and uniquely experienced space that powerfully shapes students’ clinical learning and development of professional practice capabilities. The potent influence of the confluence of these spaces on student learning is examined through the notion of a professional development crucible. The complexity of clinical workplace learning contexts, the capabilities that underpin professional practice and how these capabilities are developed and shaped by clinical workplaces are considered.The professional development crucible model identifies clinical workplace learning not as a set of techniques but as a relational, fluid and composite learning space where learning and therapeutic interactions occur and student capabilities are catalysed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDeveloping practice capability
    Subtitle of host publicationTransforming workplace learning
    EditorsNarelle Patton, Joy Higgs, Megan Smith
    Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
    PublisherBrill | Sense
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004366923
    ISBN (Print)9789004366916, 9789004366909
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Horizons
    PublisherBrill Sense


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