Several years ago, seven colleagues from the United States interested in the early professional development of novice physical therapists undertook a qualitative study to explore this under-investigated area of therapist learning and growth. We were building upon the work of Jensen and colleagues (1999, 2007) who had completed a landmark study of expertise in physical therapy practice in the U.S. Their work raised this intriguing question: What factors, internal or external, led some therapists toward growth into mastery yet not others? We decided to begin our search for answers by studying promising novice therapists during their first 3 years of practice. More details on the study design, methods and findings have been reported elsewhere (Black et al., 2010; Mostrom et al., 2011). Data collected during the investigation included reflective journal entries, frequent semistructured interviews, and a field observation. Portions of the data provide the source for the stories we share in this chapter. Here we tell a brief tale of two of these promising novices, Lana and Jean (pseudonyms), drawing primarily on their own words, as they travelled different paths during their early careers. We conclude the chapter with some reflections on their journeys and consider both the divergence and convergence of their paths. Finally, we consider how their stories might inform our understanding of novice learning and development "in situ"-of learning in and through practice in the early careers of physical therapists.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences(all)