Knowledge, Competence? and Expertise: Making sense of challenges and creative moments in everyday practice

In any regulated health profession, practitioners must demonstrate adequate knowledge and competence in order to enter and remain in practice. But how often do we stop and ask: What is professional knowledge? What is competence? Is competence enough? If we were to strive for expertise instead of competence, could/should individually expert clinicians overcome the flaws of imperfect health care systems?


In this presentation, I will share insights from a program of research seeking to answer these questions through qualitative research on the complexities of everyday practice and everyday knowledge creation. First I will briefly challenge common assumptions and concepts that guide clinical education and practice. Second I will share findings from a CIHR-funded study of how clinicians work creatively and constrainedly in the context of supporting children with disabilities at school. Finally I will share findings from research examining how clinicians negotiate competing messages of evidence, efficiency, and ethics in practice.


To wrap up, the critical social science approach will be positioned as an important direction for audiology to take as we move into increasingly challenging and changing clinical and academic contexts. You will leave with novel ways of seeing and approaching your practice and (continuing) education.


Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Define and deconstruct knowledge, competence, and expertise in relation to clinical practice
  • Describe two concepts and two research studies that explain how individuals’ practices are shaped and constrained

·        Articulate a new way of seeing one’s capacity to act in the face of systemic constraints and a unique paradigm for research in audiology