Occupation and occupational therapy: Knowledge paradigms and everyday practice

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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.


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.

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