Factors affecting clinical reasoning of occupational therapists: a qualitative study
Background: Clinical reasoning is generally defined as the numerous modes of thinking that guide clinical practice but little is known about the factors affecting how occupational therapists manage the decision-making process. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the factors influencing the clinical reasoning of occupational therapists.
Methods: Twelve occupational therapy practitioners working in mental and physical dysfunction fields participated in this study. The sampling method was purposeful and interviews were continued until data saturation. All the interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data were analyzed through a qualitative content analysis method.
Results: There were three main themes. The first theme: socio-cultural conditions included three subthemes: 1- client beliefs; 2- therapist values and beliefs; 3- social attitude to disability. The second theme: individual attributions included two subthemes 1- client attributions; 2- therapist attributions. The final theme was the workplace environment with the three subthemes: 1- knowledge of the managers of rehabilitation services, 2- working in an inter-professional team; 3- limited clinical facilities and resources.
Conclusion: In this study, the influence of the attitudes and beliefs of client, therapist and society about illness, abilities and disabilities upon reasoning was different to previous studies. Understanding these factors, especially the socio-cultural beliefs basis can play a significant role in the quality of occupational therapy services. Accurate understanding of these influential factors requires more extensive qualitative and quantitative studies.