Jennifer Barrows – Final M.A. Defence (HDLC)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.
Neville Scarfe, Room 2415


Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Perry (HDLC, ECPS)
Supervisory Committee: Dr. Deborah Butler (HDLC, ECPS) and Dr. Glenn Regehr (Centre for Health Education)
External Examiner: Dr. Dan Pratt (EDST Emeritus)


Title: How do they see it? Family Physicians’ Perspectives on & Experiences of Continuing Professional Development



Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for family physicians due to the complex and continually evolving nature of family practice. Family physicians need to keep abreast of scientific advances and current best practices in order to practice competently and effectively. As with many professions, family physicians are required to demonstrate participation in continuing professional development (CPD). Research suggests that organized CPD varies in the extent to which it influences physicians’ practice. This study aimed to advance understanding of the complexities surrounding the role of CPD in family practice by examining family physicians’ perspectives on and experiences of CPD. A mixed-method approach, incorporating a self-report survey and semi-structured interviews, investigated: (a) family physicians’ participation in organized CPD; (b) family physicians’ reasons, or motivations, for participating in organized CPD; (c) the relationship between family physicians’ motivation for CPD and their organized CPD participation; and (d) factors that influence family physicians’ motivation for and organized participation in CPD. Self-determination theory (SDT) was used as a sensitizing lens, providing relevant conceptual categories for interpreting family physicians’ reasons for participating in CPD. Ninety-one family physicians completed a self-report survey and six of these participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Overall, participants valued CPD and viewed it as important to practice. SDT concepts helped to create a more nuanced portrait of family physicians’ motivation for learning and CPD than reflected in previous studies. Six overarching themes captured participants’ motivations for, participation in, and experiences of organized CPD: Maintaining Competence, Connection to Colleagues, Me as a Learner, Opinions on the ‘CPD System’, Practicalities of Participation, and Links to Informal Learning and Practice. Relevance to research and practice are discussed.