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Personal Commitment Statements

Encouraging the Clinical Application of Continuing Professional Development Events for Health Practitioners in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Bornman, Juan PhD; Louw, Brenda PhD

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Spring 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 86–91
doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000248
Original Research

Introduction: Statements of commitment to change are commonly used to evaluate continuing medical education. However, this approach is new to evaluating the continuing professional development (CPD) of other health care practitioners such as audiology, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy in low- and middle-income countries. This study explored the use of Personal Commitment (to change) Statements (PCSs) as an evaluation tool of continuing education for health professionals in low- and middle-income countries, and its impact on the integration of new knowledge and skills with previous knowledge and clinical practice.

Methods: PCSs were used in a case study conducted at a 1-day interprofessional CPD event held for health practitioners in South Africa. A qualitative thematic analysis was made of these PCSs, and results were synthesized into main themes.

Results: Thirty-two participants turned in a PCS at the end of the CPD event with a total of 71 text statements. Three main domains were identified: (1) applying new knowledge in practice (61.97%); (2) increasing training-related content knowledge (21.12%); and (3) sharing information, skill, and resources (16.9%).

Discussion: This study demonstrated that personal commitment statements can be used to describe the outcomes of CPD events for audiologists, speech-language, occupational, and physiotherapists. Participants engaged in reflection generated by the personal commitment statement, which contained no guiding statements, yet elicited responses showing that participants were more aware of the assessment tools and how they could use them in practice. Further study is warranted into the process and the role of follow-up regarding health practitioners' commitment to change in clinical practice.

Dr. Juan Bornman: Professor and Director, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, SA. Dr. Brenda Louw: Professor and Chair, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, and Emeritus Professor, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, SA.

Correspondence: Juan Bornman, PhD, Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa; e-mail:

Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Approval for the study was received from the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Humanities Ethics Committee as well as from the East Tennessee State University Medical IRB Board.

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© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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