Occupation and occupational therapy: knowledge paradigms and everyday practice

Clare Wilding*, Gail Whiteford

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims: This article presents some preliminary findings from an action research study into the everyday practice of a group of occupational therapists working in a large metropolitan hospital delivering a range of acute services. Methods and findings: Narrative data gathered from 10 individual interviews were analysed through numerous iterative cycles to reveal salient themes. These include epistemological tensions associated with working in a hospital environment, antagonistic reasoning processes, overinclusive descriptions of practice, and communication challenges. Conclusions: The findings suggest that occupational therapists in acute settings may experience challenges in describing occupational therapy and engaging in occupation-based practice. This is because of a range of factors, including, but not limited to, the paradigmatic conflict that arises between a profession informed by occupation and a predominantly biomedical setting. However, through in-depth, reflective processes undertaken collectively within a supportive community of practice milieu, significant changes in everyday practices can be activated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-193
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


    • Acute services
    • Occupation
    • Participatory research
    • Reflective practice


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