Prof. Nicholas Taylor1, Dr Katherine Harding1, Ms Lauren Lynch1, Mr Jason Wallis1, Ms Glenda Kerridge1, Ms Alison Wilby1, Ms Anna Joy1, Ms Anne Thomspon1, Ms Judi Porter1,3, Ms Michelle Kaminski1, Ms Jane Sheats1, Ms Erin Wilson
1Eastern Health, Box Hill, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 3Monash University, Clayton, Australia
Aim: Since 2007, a suite of strategies have been introduced at a large metropolitan health service to enhance the research culture and opportunities for allied health professionals (AHPs). We aimed to measure self-reported research participation, interest and experience of the current allied health workforce, and to compare the findings to a similar survey conducted at the same health service in 2007.
Methods: A cross sectional survey of AHPs was conducted. The primary outcome measure, the Research Spider survey, measures 10 domains of research interest/experience on a 5-point Likert scale. The levels of research interest and experience were described using medians and inter-quartile ranges (IQR), and results compared to 2007 data.
Results: 245 responses were received in 2015 (response rate 70%), compared to 132 in 2007 (51%). Overall, AHPs rated themselves as having ‘some interest’ and ‘little experience’ in research, similar to 2007. Of those reporting at least some interest, the 2015 cohort reported more experience finding (p=.009) and critically reviewing (p=.045) literature, and a trend to increased publication experience (p=.059).
Significance for Allied Health: Initiatives to promote and support allied health research appear to have resulted in increased research experience for those who are interested. Despite these positive findings there remain a sizeable minority with little or no interest in research. One response is to acknowledge that not all AHPs should be engaged in research, but that all should provide evidence based care; clinical research training opportunities can then be focused on those who are interested in research.