|dc.description.abstract||This thesis presents and discusses the results of research undertaken to explore the
concept 'professional confidence'. The term 'confidence', is frequently to be found In previous
research, yet this has not adequately been defined. The conceptions held by occupational
therapists were not clear, and the events or circumstances that fostered professional confidence
in occupational therapists have not been identified. Each of these aspects was identified as an area for research in the profession.
Three studies were undertaken to gain greater insights and to add to the body of
knowledge in terms of our understanding of 'professional confidence'. The studies included a
concept analysis of the concept of 'professional confidence', a phenomenographic study of the
conceptions of professional confidence that novice occupational therapists hold and finally, the
sources or determinants of professional confidence beliefs in occupational therapy students were
explored using an interpretative methodology.
The research undertaken yielded antecedents and attributes or characteristics of
professional confidence, and from these a definition was crafted. The conceptions or
understanding of professional confidence held by the community service therapists, namely
knowing, believing and being, were closely related to the attributes raised in the concept analysis,
confirming the findings of the analysis. Final year occupational therapy students highlighted a
number of determinants of professional confidence, including events, situations and
circumstances within their control, the control of their clinical supervisors and/or the profession.
These sources in turn had been confirmed as antecedents in the concept analysis.
The research confirmed that professional identity, competence and professional
confidence are inter-related and inter-dependent phenomena. Professional confidence involves a
dynamic, maturing self-belief closely related to, and informed by both professional identity and
competence. As such, equal attention should be given during the educational endeavour and
initial employment opportunities, to the fostering of both professional identity and professional
confidence while enhancing competencies. The recommendations provided within the research
provide a rich source of information from which further research can be undertaken and interventions developed to assist students and novice practitioners to enhance their professional confidence.||en