Title of ArticleTaking a step into the unknown: facilitators’ role and experiences after attending the Foundation Practice Development School
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sTherese Hirsbrunner, Esther Siegrist, Horst Rettke and Irena Anna Frei
ReferenceVolume 10, Issue 2, Article 7
Date of PublicationNovember 2020
KeywordsFacilitator role, IPDC Foundation Practice Development School, practice development, programme evaluation, qualitative research

Background: Skilled practice development facilitators are a key factor in practice development. Facilitators not only need technical skills, but also the ability to establish trustful relationships and an environment in which team members feel safe to explore their practice.

Aims: The aim of the study was to explore how participants at the International Practice Development Collaborative’s Foundation Practice Development School in German-speaking Switzerland succeed in developing their roles as facilitators in their clinical settings, and which factors support or impede their path towards becoming experienced facilitators. The secondary aim was to identify factors that could inform future practice development foundation schools.

Methods: A qualitative approach was chosen, using the structured dialogue technique in the context of group discussions. Data analysis was performed by means of knowledge mapping, following Mayring’s qualitative content analysis.

Findings/results: A total of 30 participants of the foundation practice development schools held between 2015 and 2018 attended the group discussions. As novice facilitators, they were highly motivated after the school, but they needed courage to critically analyse their practice within their busy day-to-day work and to take a leading role as facilitators. The study participants are clear that time and space for reflection, support from managers and learning opportunities are preconditions for a successful journey as practice developers.

Conclusions and implications for practice: 

  • A special focus is needed on the reflective skills of novice facilitators to enable them to take time for self-reflection in busy workplaces
  • The implementation of a mentoring programme for foundation school participants in German-speaking Switzerland has to be considered
  • The involvement of the managers of school attendees needs to be considered from the outset, hence refocusing the preparation work of participants
  • More practical guides and basics in German should be made available

This article by Therese Hirsbrunner, Esther Siegrist, Horst Rettke and Irena Anna Frei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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