Is length of experience an appropriate criterion to identify level of expertise?

Rassafiani, Mehdi (2009) Is length of experience an appropriate criterion to identify level of expertise? Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 16(4), 247-256 .

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Clinical experience plays an important role in the development of expertise, particularly when coupled with reflection on practice. There is debate, however, regarding the amount of clinical experience that is required to become an expert. Various lengths of practice have been suggested as suitable for determining expertise, ranging from five years to 15 years. This study aimed to investigate the association between length of experience and therapists’ level of expertise in the field of cerebral palsy with upper limb hypertonicity using an empirical procedure named Cochrane–Weiss–Shanteau (CWS). The methodology involved re-analysis of quantitative data collected in two previous studies. In Study 1, 18 experienced occupational therapists made hypothetical clinical decisions related to 110 case vignettes, while in Study 2, 29 therapists considered 60 case vignettes drawn randomly from those used in Study 1. A CWS index was calculated for each participant's case decisions. Then, in each study, Spearman's rho was calculated to identify the correlations between the duration of experience and level of expertise. There was no significant association between these two variables in both studies. These analyses corroborated previous findings of no association between length of experience and judgemental performance. Therefore, length of experience may not be an appropriate criterion for determining level of expertise in relation to cerebral palsy practice.

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5 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 34184
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Clinical reasoning, duration of experience, expert, occupational therapy
DOI: 10.3109/11038120902795441
ISSN: 1103-8128
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Deposited On: 23 Aug 2010 02:35
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2010 02:35

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