The Feasibility and Acceptability of Using a Portfolio to Assess Professional Competence
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PURPOSE: Little is known about physical therapists' views on the use of portfolios to evaluate professional competence. The purpose of this study was to gather the opinions of physical therapists on the feasibility and acceptability of a portfolio prepared to demonstrate evidence of clinical specialization through reported activities and accomplishments related to professional development, leadership, and research. METHODS: Twenty-nine Canadian physical therapists practising in the neurosciences area were given 8 weeks to prepare a professional portfolio. Participants submitted the portfolio along with a survey addressing the preparation of the portfolio and its role as an assessment tool. Qualitative content analysis was used to interpret the participants' comments. RESULTS: Participants reported that maintaining organized records facilitated the preparation of their portfolio. They experienced pride when reviewing their completed portfolios, which summarized their professional activities and highlighted their achievements. Concerns were noted about the veracity of self-reported records and the ability of the documentation to provide a comprehensive view of the full scope of the professional competencies required for clinical specialization (e.g., clinical skills). CONCLUSION: The study's findings support the feasibility and acceptability of a portfolio review to assess professional competence and clinical specialization in physical therapy and have implications for both physical therapists and professional agencies.
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