Clinical narratives in residency education: Exploration of the learning process

Jennifer Furze, Bruce H. Greenfield, J. B. Barr, Kathleen Geist, Judith Gale, Gail Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Post-professional residency educational programs aim to advance the knowledge and skills of therapists in a clinical specialty area, however, little is known about the process, outcomes, or effectiveness of residency education. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use narrative as a teaching and learning tool to gain insight into the progressive development of the residents’ learning process. Design: Qualitative methods including a retrospective analysis of residents’ narratives were used to explore the professional development and thought process of residents. Methods: Six physical therapy residents wrote reflective narratives across 4 time placements during their one-year residency. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data for types of reflection across time frames and to construct themes based on meaning statements. Results: Four main themes evolved from the residents’ clinical narratives: 1) developing clinical reasoning skills; 2) developing professional formation and identity; 3) moral agency; and 4) emerging characteristics of expertise Conclusions: In this study, clinical narratives served as a pedagogical tool to enhance aspects of clinical expertise. The utilization of clinical narrative may be used as one tool to help to create reflective practitioners with improved skills foundational to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 14 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this