An exploration of the construct of Masters level clinical practice
This study aimed to explore the construct of Masters level clinical practice. A mixed methods approach converging quantitative and qualitative data was undertaken. Consensus of behaviours indicative of the construct was explored through a quantitative Delphi study. Participants represented a total population sample of Masters course tutors in healthcare (n = 48). Round 1 requested behaviours indicative of the construct. Quantitative content analysis informed the behaviours explored in round 2, where participants rated their relative importance. Round 3 asked participants to rank the behaviours in order of importance. Descriptive and inferential analysis enabled interpretation of consensus. The construct was also explored through an in-depth qualitative case study, using semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Purposive sampling selected the `case' of a manipulative physiotherapy course and the participants for the study. Analytic categories were derived from the data using a constant comparative process until saturation of the data were achieved. Theoretical propositions to identify the components of the construct were developed. The response rate for the Delphi study was very good (79.1%, 77.1% and 70.8% for rounds 1-3 respectively). Rounds 1 and 2 achieved good consensus enabling 21 agreed 'important' behaviours to be taken into round 3. The ranking process in round 3 afforded consensus overall, but also highlighted some differences between professions regarding the prioritisation of components of the construct. There was good convergence of the data with the case study, with clinical reasoning and knowledge identified as the most important components of the construct. The study has identified generic components of the construct of Masters level clinical practice. In addition specific components and their prioritisation for the speciality of manipulative physiotherapy are identified. Development of this work by exploring several case studies to enable further consideration of professions and specialities through analytic generalisation would be beneficial.