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Self-Selected Activity: Reflective vs. Rushed Storytelling

Many of us have “To Do” lists and may try to use the few minutes we have between patients to cross tasks off our list. For physiotherapists, completing the Practice Improvement Record (PIR) and your renewal is likely on the list this month. Is rushing to complete the PIR in a time pressure situation of any value in a Learning and Thinking sense? When the DO.LEARN.GROW program was designed, Council deliberately chose a reflective reporting approach for the Self-Selected Activity.

Reflection is the: “conscious and systematic approach to thinking about experiences with the aim of learning and changing behaviours.”1

Consequently, questions in the Practice Improvement Record were designed to extend the learning cycle. Questions were constructed to cue physiotherapists to not only think and share how activity participation improved their personal competence but also to describe how activity participation enhanced patient care and/or physiotherapy/health-care services. Written narratives are required because writing fosters thinking and learning.

For the most part, based on our pilot test, we believe that completion of the Practice Improvement Record furthers professional growth.

“Though self reflecting is something we do on a continuing basis actually having to put pen to paper makes you think a little deeper and does contribute to the GROW aspect of the reflection.”

“I felt this was much more relevant and that any professional will see the value in being truthful and taking the time to do it well. Past years I was just trying to get it done but this time I actually enjoyed it and found myself doing more than I thought I would”

Adequate time for the reflection process is key. This year when you sit down to write up your Practice Improvement Record give yourself adequate time to deconstruct and reconstruct your experience, to explore your thoughts, to identify and articulate what you have learned, and the impacts on practice. Don’t rush, take time to reflect and grow.

Here are some General Tips for writing your Practice Improvement Record

The 2018/2019 Practice Improvement Record is now available in the Member Portal. You have two options:

  • Option 1) Complete your Practice Improvement Record now and have it ready to submit when you apply to renew your practice permit (To start your Practice Improvement Record before renewing, select “My PIR” and ”2018/2019”).
  • Option 2) Complete the PIR as one of the renewal steps. First you must update your profile, including providing your insurance certification information, then the system will allow you to access the Practice Improvement Record.

You may work on your Practice Improvement Record at any time changing and updating it as necessary. To complete renewal you “submit” it. Once the Practice Improvement Record is submitted, no further changes can be made; however, it is available for viewing in a “read only” format.

Your completed Practice Improvement Record must:

  • Be an authentic and meaningful representation of what you did to improve competence and enhance professional practice (patient care/physiotherapy/health-care services).
  • Provide specific details about the activity you completed.
  • Name resources used to improve practice (e.g., evidence, articles, guidelines, reports, scales, audits).
  • Provide a thorough description of how completing the activity impacted your personal competence and patient care practice or physiotherapy/health-care services.

When you complete your Practice Improvement Record:

  • Write about an activity that resulted in significant, sustained meaningful change in your personal competence and practice that you can tell a great story about (sentence form or point form acceptable).
  • Use reporting as an opportunity to consolidate your thoughts and extend your learning.
  • Set aside enough time to thoroughly consider the questions posed. Physiotherapists in our pilot test spent at least one hour to complete their record.
  • Answer all questions posed in the Practice Improvement Record providing detailed explanations on how your activity improved your competence and patient care and/or the physiotherapy/health- services.
  • Consider using the Guiding Questions to prompt reflection.
  • In your story list two or more resources to illustrate you are using current resources to make good practice decisions. Options are flexible: source and title, source and topic, title and weblink, full citation.

Questions, comments, debates. - Contact the Continuing Competence Program competence@cpta.ab.ca or 780-702.5359

  1. Paterson C, Chapman J. Enhancing skills of critical reflection to evidence learning in professional practice. Physical Therapy in Sport. 2013 Aug 1;14(3):133-8.

Page updated: 20/04/2022