Why Should a Clinician Lead by Example?

NOTE 06/10/2016

With regards to the second comment on my blog post by Jason Price, I have edited my second paragrpah to ensure that I keep full sentences. I have changed the title of my blog post in order to catch the readers attention and to make them want to read my post further. I have read over my blog post again and corrected all the spelling and grammmatical errors that I could identify.


Professional practice is where a student is required to extend knowledge and skills within a practical environment (Curtin University, 2010).  It is the use of ones knowledge in a particular profession (Reference.MD, 2012). For example, a physiotherapy student will be required as part of their degree to go out into their field, either at a hospital or at a clinic, and train under supervision in order to gain the experience and skills required in a practical environment.

It is important to determine a relationship between conceptual learning/thinking and clinical reasoning (McMillan, 2010). As a fourth year physiotherapy student, I feel that it is important that we apply what we have learnt theoretically into our clinical practice. This plays an important role in our professional practice. For example, if we combine our theoretical knowledge with our clinical practice and reasoning, we will be able to assess and treat a patient in a holistic manner. In terms of my own evaluation as a student, I feel that we have to apply what we have learnt theoretically into the clinical context. If I had no theoretical knowledge, I would not be able to competently perform in the clinical environment. I still feel as a fourth year physiotherapy student, that I can improve and work harder on this professional practice skill.

It is important to determine if our quality of professional skills qualify ourselves as competent physiotherapists in the clinical environment (Cross, 1995). As a physiotherapy student, I feel that it is important for clinicians, who have an educational role to play in clinical practice, to demonstrate and educate students with regards to professional practice. This will assist students in becoming competent future physiotherapists. The clinician needs to be a role model towards students. To be a successful role model, the clinician needs to demonstrate professional practice at all times.

The environment in which you find yourself in always determines your learning outcomes. It determines your quality of learning within a practical and theoretical base. The environment in which we find ourselves in can also determine our learning regarding professional practice (Gard, 2016). Having done clinical practice in third year, fourth year and based on what I hear from my fellow colleagues regarding their clinical blocks, I have come to the conclusion that the environment in which we are placed in does determine our learning outcomes. For example, if I compare a block that has minimal patient turn ups, a clinician that is hardly available to assist, and a clinician that never sees you with a patient, compared to a block where you are constantly busy with patients, and you have a clinician that is constantly watching over your shoulder and assisting you where needed, the probability of the learning outcomes are a lot higher. Professional practice is an important aspect in our learning outcomes and therefore, the environment that we are placed in will have an impact on our professional practice.


Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such as academic degrees and informal learning opportunities situated in practice

The personal characteristics that I have that help me to develop as a professional is my hard work and dedication towards what I do. The above mentioned characteristic assists me in my professional development. My determination assists me in overcoming difficult situations faced in clinical practice. It also assists me in achieving my own goals as well as my patient’s goals. With hard work and dedication, patients become my number one priority and my job gets done without any fail. My communication skills help me to develop as a professional. It assists me in creating a good relationship with my patient. This allows me to receive as much information from the patient as possible, which will assist in my patient assessment and treatment. This allows the patient to have a full understanding of who I am, what I am doing and how this will assist them in their recovery.

The personal characteristic that I have that will hinder my professional development is my confidence in what I am doing. I often doubt myself in what I am doing and I am always looking for reassurance from a qualified physiotherapist, or any other health care professional. Even though I am doing the correct thing, I doubt myself. I feel very unprofessional when I do this, as I have to interrupt my session with the patient to re-assure with my clinician that I am doing the right thing. This prevents me from performing to my full potential within the clinical practice environment. I am aware that I am still learning, but I need to start becoming more confident in what I am doing.

The things that I struggle with in my professional practice are applying my theoretical knowledge into my clinical practice. I struggle to link concepts together. I often find myself sitting with a ‘step by step’ procedure to follow with all of my patients and I don’t think back, to link my theoretical knowledge learnt in class with the clinical presentation of the patient. Linking my theoretical knowledge into my clinical practice will assist me in treating the patient holistically and providing the patient with the best treatment possible.

I will be able to improve this aspect of my professional practice by taking the time out with every patient to link theoretical knowledge with my clinical practice, regarding that specific patient. I can take 5 minutes out of my time with each patient to link some of my theory knowledge learnt in class, and incorporate it into my assessment and treatment with this patient. The best way to improve on this aspect is to practice.


Cross, V. (1995). Perceptions of the Ideal Clinical Educator in Physiotherapy Education. Physiotherapy, 81(9), 506-513.

Curtin University. (2010). What is Professional Practice? Retrieved on the 06 April, 2016 from: https://askcurtin.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/380/~/what-is-professional-practice%3F

Gard, G., & Dagis, D. (2016). Physiotherapy students’ perceptions of learning in clinical practice in Sweden and India. Nurse Education Today, 36, 381-386.

McMillan, W. J. (2010). Teaching for clinical reasoning – helping students make the conceptual links. Medical Teacher, 32(10), e436-e442.

Reference.MD. (2012). Professional Practice. Retrieved on the 06 April, 2016 from: http://www.reference.md/files/D011/mD011364.html



3 Replies to “Why Should a Clinician Lead by Example?”

  1. Hi Tayla . I found your post interesting and the more I read the more I wanted your post to continue as I was learning a lot. This is a very informative piece. I agree with you that we should apply our theoretical knowledge, because without that knowledge we wouldn’t have a clue of what is happening with our patient. This also helps us to guide us in the directions of which types of assessment to do and why we are doing it. Without theoretical knowledge we would not be able to treat the patient holistically. I am glad to see that you are aware of the fact that you can do better and I hope you put in the extra effort to improve that aspect. I agree that the clinician needs to be a role model as this is the person we will approach when we need help and to guide us in the right direction.
    I also agree that if the clinician is watching over your shoulder,  checking up on you and assisting u, I believe that this makes you want to work harder and it also motivates you and help you as their input always helps. I myself prefer to have a clinician like this as I feel it motivates me to work harder.

    References cited well and good in text citations

    Content flows well and I like how you always reflect on your self as well

    Well written with no spelling errors.

    Well done. I enjoyed this post learning about what research says as well as your own personal feelings/experience.


  2. Hey Tayla

    This is a very good piece of self-evaluation. It’s good to see that you can be honest about your flaws but it’s equally as good to acknowledge your strengths. It also made me think of my weaknesses and strengths and how i can improve on the weaknesses. I liked the fact that you gave the readers a set of ideas on things you can do to improve on your weaknesses. This shows you really thought about this and reflected well.

    I would just say that in your second paragraph just make sure you keep to full sentences. The beginning was almost in a bullet point format. In both blogs I’ve read now i think you could put in a title that would make readers want to read your blog. Also in both blogs, i loved your use of pictures, it made the reading easier on the eyes.

    Just watch out for small grammatical errors.

    Referencing was good!

    Good and insightful read Tayla well done


  3. Very touching post Tayla, I can relate to this blog. I also struggle with confidence, I constantly doubt myself when handling patients and always searching for reassurance from others. This causes people including my clinicians and supervisors to question my competences. I agree with the literature that the environment that we are placed in as students, determines our learning outcomes and has a great impact on our professional development. Clinicians and supervisors should provide an environment which enables learning and the development of competent future physiotherapists.
    Well done, you have written the blog well as you have addressed the major concepts of the topic, and also have references to support your writing. The structure of the post is good, found no spelling errors.
    Good work.


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