In this Article
By Joyce Magill-Evans and Kerrie Pain
Therapists want to base their practice on current, relevant evidence and have excellent suggestions for professional associations to help them do this. This article outlines what 165 randomly selected Alberta therapists told our multidisciplinary research team during interviews examining the transfer and uptake of research knowledge by rehabilitation professionals (OTs, PTs, and SLPs- speech language pathologists). At the recent CAOT conference in Calgary Alberta, the thought-provoking results were discussed with the 60 extended session attendees. The discussion underscored the recommendations for professional associations which are summarized below.
I. Publish journal articles that are relevant and easy to read
" you know practical things. Things that we can use in our practice, not things that are fancy in a research setting" or "So specific as to have almost no relevance to what I might be doing."
The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy (CJOT) and Occupational Therapy Now (OT Now), publications of our professional association, are mailed to all CAOT members. Their editors and editorial boards can address these concerns by including front-line clinicians as reviewers and considering alternative formats. Therapists wanted researchers to take studies and create "bite-sized" messages for clinicians to take into practice. Some therapists commented on how easy it is to read OT Now. Perhaps CJOT could create an on-line version of accepted journal articles that are peer-reviewed, clinician- friendly, bite-sized (less than 500 words) and linked to web-sites of the provincial and national associations. Could CAOT hire someone who creates bite-sized versions of articles that are published in other relevant publications?
II. Help therapists find the information they need
Only after step 6, can therapists make a plan for implementing research-based changes into their practice.
Therapists made a number of suggestions to make the process of finding information easier. They wanted their professional associations to be a hub of information about how to navigate the Web and find prime OT sites, how to effectively find evidence and do searches, and to publicize the research that is being done. They also wanted information about funding sources for research. They wanted to have someone to gather information from the library and provide regular updates on selected topics. In addition, therapists wanted the table of contents of relevant journals available through provincial web sites and access to on-line journals. Our professional association has heard some of these messages as OT Now is addressing these needs through articles and columns that include useful web sites, evidence for practice, the research updates and the COTF column. Therapists clearly wanted more of this type of information.
III. Ensure that clinically-relevant research exists
Where to from here?
Joyce Magill-Evans, PhD, OT(C) is a Professor at the University of Alberta. Kerrie Pain, PhD is Rehabilitation Research Coordinator for the Calgary Health Region. This study was funded by Health Canada. For more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (780) 492-0402.