Title of ArticleEditorial: Investing in Learning about Practice Development as a Critical Response
Type of ArticleEditorial
Author/sJan Dewing
ReferenceVolume 3, Issue 2, Editorial
Date of PublicationNovember 2013
Keywordsdevelopment, editorial, learning, practice development

Investing in Learning about Practice Development as a Critical Response

Learning about practice development is best achieved in and through work. Learning how to ‘be’ a practice developer and not just to ‘do’ practice development takes many years of learning based on self-inquiry amongst other things. Maybe, once in a while it can help to stand back and have a burst of learning away from work and with others who share one’s passions and dreams. It is increasingly hard for practice developers to find learning opportunities that are embedded in practice development and where new and creative learning is offered. In many health and social care provider organisations, the emphasis is on training and knowing how to meet targets and to ‘comply’. Compliance is necessary for minimum safety standards but it is not enough. People need to be creative and feel inspired in different ways. Most training simply doesn’t do that. Further, short term bans on education and travel which prevents networking and learning between peers is short sighted and long term bans are dangerous as this contributes to developing insular teams and services with little exposure to external challenge. Economic concerns will always contribute to the value that is placed on learning; however, they shouldn’t be the only or even the most important factor (Johnson 2011, p457).

Those of us in roles with strategic influence need to work more closely with our colleagues in learning and development and workforce planning towards a ‘critical response’ (Johnson, 2011, p459) that can influence how resources are allocated to education, including continuing professional development, and to gradually bring practice development influenced education and learning more to the fore. Not all education and learning should be explicitly focused on practice development; however it should be part of it in some way. Employers have a social responsibility to fulfil in regard to learning and it is one that is often overlooked. It is, as Dewey so well argued, the investment in workers education and learning that brings the energy and skills needed for organisational growth and increased success (Butler, 2000).

Among other learning opportunities, IPDC members in several countries provide Practice Development Schools that bring diverse groups of people together to learn more about practice development and innovation. Schools can be at three levels: Introductory, Foundation and Advanced. All schools have a common curriculum, programme and criteria to support quality and consistency. A few schools also have optional academic accreditation included. People who come to these schools are either lucky in that they work with an IPDC member, know about the work of IPDC members or they have convinced their employer to let them attend one of these schools. Similar opportunities to these schools are rare. Although this is a good start, more is needed.

The IPDC would like to thank the participants (named below) and the managers/leaders in the organisations who supported the first Advanced Practice Development School hosted by The England Centre for Practice Development at Canterbury Christ Church University, England.

Karen Lumsden, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, England

Carolyn Jackson, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, England

Chris Hamson, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, England

Crystal Mcleod, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, England

Karen Hammond, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, England

Louise Love, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, England

Christianah Senbanjo, East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, England

Helen Hunnisett, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, England

Simon Wilson, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, England

Patricia Rigby, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, England

Susan Dunajewski, Department of Health, Isle of Man

Kate Danskin, NHS Tayside, Scotland

Caroline Williams, Hywel DDA Health Board, Wales

Irena Anna Frei, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland

Kathrin Hirter, Inselspital, University Hospital Berne, Switzerland

Francis Grand, Inselspital, University Hospital Berne, Switzerland

Heidi Berlepsch-Schreiner, University Spital Zürich, Switzerland

Helen Pratt, Southern New South Wales Local Health District, Australia

And so to this issue: there are a wide range of papers on different aspects of practice development; each of them highlight just how much it is possible to learn whatever the focus of scholarship or research is; and that there is still much to be learnt to ensure better practice and care for service users. In particular, each paper demonstrates the value of personal inquiry as a significant driver for creating new knowledge. We are delighted that The Open University have sponsored a paper in this issue; thank you to Josie Tetley for her paper which raises questions about how to successfully engage with patients. Josie Tetley and Jan Draper have also contributed a Guest Editorial discusses the vital role of learning and development in enabling staff to provide person-centred care.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed, in whatever way, enabling us to produce the journal for 2013 including our IPDC colleagues for their support. We look forward to working and publishing the 2014 issues.


Butler, E. (2000) Knowing ‘now’, learning futures. The politics and knowledge practices of vocational education and training. International Journal of Lifelong Education. Vol. 19. No. 4. pp 132-150.

Johnson, C.E. (2011) Workplace learning: organisations, ethics and issues. Chp 34 in Malloch, M., Cairns, L., Evans, K. and O’Connor, B. N (Eds.) (2011) The Sage Handbook of Workplace Learning. London: Sage. pp 456-465.

Jan Dewing (PhD, MN, BSc, RN, RNT, Dip Nurs Ed, Dip Nurs), Academic Editor, International Practice Development Journal; Professor of Person-centred Research and Practice Development, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Canterbury Christchurch University, Kent, England. Visiting Professor, Person-centred Practice Research Centre University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Visiting Professor Aged Care and Practice Development, School of Nursing Midwifery and Indigenous Health Studies, University of Wollongong NSW (in partnership with Uniting Care Ageing SE Region.

This article by Jan Dewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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