Building research capacity in speech and language therapy – Part 3 (Resources for EBP)

I almost forgot I was going to do what I’m about to do as I was originally intending to include this information in Part 2.But as that got a bit too long it probably works out quite well as a post on its own.

Tis truly a plentiful bounty of EBP resourcesI’ll also just preface the main point of this post with a pertinent account of a brief exchange I had with two students in my clinical education tutorial group today while we were waiting for the remaining members of the group to join us.We got to talking about despite it being the first day of term following the 4 week Easter vacation, Mondays just have this habit of making you feel like you’ve not had a break for ages – especially when you’ve just come out of a two-hour class on Research Methods (the students, not myself).This led one student to comment something along the lines of “and I’m not really sure what we’re ever going to use research methods for anyway” to which the other paused then replied something like “well probably for our dissertation but after that I don’t really know“. So, resisting the temptation to let my head drop to the table, as after all they are only in the second year of their four-year course (and they will get more modules which draw out aspects of this later on), I took the opportunity to suggest how such skills should be useful in carrying out Evidence Based Practice, which, is also what I am attempting to instill in them at this stage by asking them to develop therapy tasks based on evidence and citing this evidence in their written therapy plans. I don’t want to go into this in any more detail but I think it raises an interesting issue from a clinical education point of view in that we may be thinking we are instilling principles of evidence based practice but do students appreciate this at the time in that particular stage of their development in becoming SLTs?

And with that:

I’m just basically going to provide a list of resources that SLTs (and other Allied Health Professionals) may find helpful in their quest to implement Evidence Based Practice, or dare I say it, have a go at some research.Some will probably only be relevant/accessible by UK SLTs but most should be useful for others too.

If you are reading this and know of something else to add to the list, please feel free to add a comment so it can be shared with everyone :D Read more of this post

Building research capacity in speech and language therapy – Part 2

Research Facilitators to make the research process a little less daunting and overwhelmingSo as a Research Facilitator for SLT my remit was to increase research capacity in local NHS SLT services.The ultimate aim of this was to improve SLT services’ potential of taking part and leading large research projects which would be eligible for inclusion on the National Institute of Health Research’s Research Portfolio. This portfolio being a list of ‘high-quality’ clinical research within the UK which is funded directly through NHS funding streams or through streams that are open on a nationally competitive basis (i.e. where the researchers have applied for funding and where these applications have been judged alongside other competing bids). The long and short of this being that the more involvement in Portfolio research a particular NHS Trust has, the more money they will subsequently be alloted for research purposes in future cycles – so NHS Research and Development (R & D) offices are very keen on this!

However, not all SLTs have the personal desire to do such ‘high-quality research’ (which is fair enough) or the time allowed within their job description to do so even if it is an appealing proposition.Therefore, I saw my role as two-fold:1) to identify and support those who have the desire and committment to engage actively in research; and 2) to help develop core research skills with those, who while not considering research (at this stage), were still interested in developing their ability to conduct evidence based practice. Read more of this post

Building research capacity in speech and language therapy – Part 1

Looking for questions and looking for answersResearch skills are integral to any working position as a speech and language therapist (SLT).This is because SLT is (or at least strives to be) an evidence based profession.This means that the things we do, as SLTs, when providing care to real people/patients/clients have been researched and shown to be effective.To make an analogy, if you are in the unfortunate position of needing to take medication or of undergoing a surgical procedure, your doctor should be giving you information on success rates of the intervention in question (e.g. “this drug/procedure has a 60% chance of success, there is a 20% chance of no effect, and a 20% chance of negative side-effects”).Such figures are not just plucked out of the air or based on the particular doctor’s prior experiences – these figures are generally based on the outcomes of thorough and controlled research which has been peer-reviewed and published.

As with all science and healthcare-based fields, knowledge is not stationary.Therefore, it is the speech and language therapist’s responsibility to keep up to date with new developments that are relevant to their working practices in order to ensure they are capable of providing the best possible care. Read more of this post