Working with the idea of a platform for practice

You can acknowledge the source of the materials by adding a link to this site

You can send me feedback via the contact form on this website

Thinking about a platform for practice:

A platform for practice refers to a synthesis of our knowledge, skills, experiences in and out of work, personal qualities and preferences. In combination, these elements underpin and support us to prepare, engage in and deliver our everyday practice. You can find a fuller description in this blogpost. Below you will find ideas and activities which I developed with and have used with colleagues and teams to explore a platform for practice.

A template for exploring a platform for practice:

Fillable word template which is useful for capturing the dimensions of a platform for practicespacer

someone using a rolling pin with another helpingHow might you use the platform for practice idea and template?

  • As part of the appraisal process to review individual dimensions of a platform for practice; identifying strengths, identifying and agreeing any development priorities and necessary support.
  • In supervision to identify how different dimensions of the individual’s platform for practice may contribute to a practice uncertainty; which strengths to build on, where to focus attention with a view to supporting a practitioner to unpick and resolve practice uncertainties.
  • To explore what platform for practice is required to meet specified practice demands in a given setting. For example, when thinking about how to develop in house development for a junior clinical rotation, reviewing skill mix in a specified team, working in a new or emerging field of practice.
  • In team work; comparing individual platforms for practice, identifying where there are similarities, differences and synergies and how these support the team to collaborate for patient/public benefit.

You will find some detailed illustrations below:

Exploring an individual platform for practice:

Practitioners from the same profession will have similar elements in their platforms for practice but each practitioner’s individual platform will be unique to them, reflecting the individual’s own professional development and personal experiences.

You will find some guidance about what might go in each box on this template

Thinking about how a platform for practice equips the practitioner to meet practice demands.

Once you have identified your individual platform for practice, or have supported a colleague, supervisee or team to think about their individual platform for practice, it’s important to consider how the platform for practice equips each practitioner to meet day-to-day practice demands. Depending on the area of practice and the individual’s role, these practice demands might relate to any aspect of practice; clinical, non-clinical, interprofessional, managerial and so on. There are some activities here for exploring clinical and non-clinical practice demands:

An activity exploring the relationship between a platform for practice and clinical demands.

Activity 1: Exploring a platform for practice and clinical demands

An activity exploring the relationship between a  platform for practice and non-clinical demands.

Many health and care jobs involve a mixture of clinical and non-clinical practice demands. For some, providing clinical leadership or operational management of a service will entail meeting different types of practice demands and require you to foreground different dimensions of your platform for practice.

Activity 2: The platform for practice for clinical and non clinical practice demands

sun shining through plantsWorking out the platform for practice for a specified role or practice setting

A platform for practice is not a Curriculum Vitae or a person specification or a job description; it is the cluster of elements or dimensions which, in synthesis, an individual practitioner draws on, in various configurations, to meet the practice demands he or she encounters in the course of day-to-day practice.

Of course, if a job description and person specification accurately reflect the practitioner’s role, then it’s reasonable to expect a good match with the individual’s platform for practice. Thinking about a practice role and the associated practice demands in terms of ‘hypothetical’ platform for practice can:

  • Provide a more dynamic picture of the practice demands and expectations about the knowledge, know-how and knowing how-to-be that underpin practice,
  • Support considerations about skill-mix within and across professions; helping to identify overlap and distinctions between points of professional progression (e.g. from one grade to the next) or between professions and in turn matching the right platform for practice with the right practice demands,
  • Assist understanding of multi-professional roles which can be aligned with a selection of registered professionals; for example Multi-professional Advanced Clinical Practitioners
  • Provide a useful framework for supervisory and practice development discussions by comparing a developing practitioner’s platform for practice with the anticipated practiced demands of the role.

You can adapt either of the earlier activities to think about a platform for practice and the practice demands in a specified setting or for a specified role.

You will find some guidance about populating a platform for practice template for a specified role in this resource

Sense checking a ‘hypothetical’ platform for practice for a specific job role

castle reflectionDeveloping a ‘hypothetical’ platform for practice as a team is especially useful when there is a new or emerging role,  particularly when that role could be aligned to one of a number of professions; a multi-professional team leader or a multi-professional advanced clinical practitioner. In these contexts,  developing a hypothetical platform for practice:

  • Supports the development of team-wide understanding about the multi-professional role,
  • Provides a benchmark for the practitioner development towards the multi-professional role,
  • Provides a framework for supervision and other case-based discussions,
  • Provides a framework for the development of optimal supervision arrangements,
  • Helps to identify who is best placed to support the development of diverse dimensions of the practitioner’s platform for practice.
  • Helps to look beyond traditional and taken-for-granted professional roles
  • Helps to keep focused on patient needs

Job descriptions and person specifications offer an obvious starting point for populating a hypothetical platform for practice but you may also find it useful to identify some ‘typical’ practice encounters or scenarios which might be expected for a given practice role. It can be very effective to do this as a peer group or a team activity. You might pick a few clinical cases, think about ways in which the cases are similar and different and for the role you are exploring, what dimensions of the practitioner’s platform for practice equip the practitioner to meet the presenting demands.

How might a platform for practice relate to competence and capability?

I like the idea of a platform for practice because it reminds us about the role of personal characteristics, attributes and preferences in our practice encounters but some of you may prefer to work with the ideas of Competence and Capability. These terms may be more familiar but they do sometimes get used interchangeably. I think they are nicely defined in the Health Education England/Skills for Health ‘Core Capabilities Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice (Nurses) Working in General Practice / Primary Care in England’. You will find a link to the document in the suggested further reading. Here’s how competence and capability are differentiated in that publication:

Competence: To consistently perform to defined standards required in the workplace, usually focused on the outputs of work and observable performance. Competence tends to describe practice in stable environments with familiar problems.

Capability: The ability to be competent, and beyond this, to work effectively in situations which may be complex and require flexibility and creativity.

You will find some of the platform for practice ideas modified to think about competence and capability in relation to advanced clinical practice in Appendix 2 on pages 27-28 of the Health Education Centre for Advancing Practice publication Workplace Supervision for Advanced Clinical Practice: An integrated multi-professional approach for practitioner development

The activity can be easily adapted to other practice settings or contexts.

To return to other ideas and resources, follow the link below:

Ideas and Resources