Effectiveness of a tailored Evidence Based Practice (EBP) education program for speech pathologists

Ms Sally Brinkmann1, Ms Anita McKinstry1, Mrs Ruth Best2, Mrs Camilla Lukeman1,

1Western Health, Footscray, Australia, 2Tasmanian Health Service, Hobart, Australia

 

Aim:

To investigate the impact of an education program on self-perceived attitudes, skills, knowledge and application of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) in clinical Speech Pathologists working at Western Health.

Method:

This study used a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design.  The sample included Speech Pathologists working with both adults and paediatric clients across the continuum of care at Western Health.  Evaluation of self-perceived attitudes, knowledge, skills and application of EBP was completed using the Clinical Effectiveness and Evidence Based Practice Questionnaire (EBPQ) (Upton and Upton, 2006) at baseline (n = 24) and following delivery of a face to face education program (n = 20). The EBP education program included interactive lectures and one on one mentoring.  This program was supported via completion of annual case based presentations in which Speech Pathologists described how they applied EBP to answer clinical questions.

Results:

Participants self-perceived attitudes, knowledge, skills and application of EBP improved in the majority of areas; with the notable exception of self-perceived application of critically appraising the literature. Outcomes will be presented, and future directions discussed regarding the ongoing development of Speech Pathologists’ ability to apply EBP, in the context of ensuring the translation of current research outcomes into practice.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

Despite EBP being fundamental to optimising patient outcomes, failure to routinely translate research findings into clinical practice is common. Barriers to implementing EBP are experienced by all allied health disciplines.  This program, aimed at improving clinicians’ attitudes, skills, knowledge and application of EBP, is therefore applicable to all.