Teaching Occupational Therapy students how to integrate evidence for better clinical outcomes
About the project
Preparing occupational therapy students to transition from an academic environment to the realities of practice is a significant education issue.
Research has shown that effective practitioners use a wide range of sources of knowledge in their construction of evidence based practice.
However, traditionally education programmes have focused on teaching appropriate use of research literature.
Recent research related to new graduates indicates that they are reluctant to even consider looking for evidence unless guided by a supervisor and that they lose these skills quickly after becoming qualified.
This project aims to seek new ways of addressing this knowledge gap.
To prepare students/new graduates to be confident evidence-based practice practitioners in a range of practice environments
- To identify the skills and attitudes that are essential for new graduates to be confident and effective evidence-based practitioners
- To describe how clinical supervisors assist the new graduates to achieve integration of theory into decision making.
- To modify the Occupational Therapy curriculum to provide evidence-based practice (EBP) skills that are essential for new graduates
Design / Methodology
This project will use both qualitative and quantitative data.
The data gathered from a series of interviews will be analysed to identify the current strengths of the teaching programme and how teaching could be enhanced to ensure confident EBP graduates.
Those interviewed will include: experienced occupational therapists who supervise new graduates and/or students; lecturers who teach in the undergraduate programme; students in the final year of the occupational therapy programme; graduates from the programme who have worked for a period of 6-12 months.
Pre-post surveys to appraise the EBP skills/attitudes of students (final year) and new graduates (worked between 6-12 months).
These will be conducted prior to the changes in the curriculum and then once changes have been made.
Curriculum change that prepares students to be effective evidence-based practitioners.
Workshops for clinicians to report results; to update on methods that provide sound evidence based practice; to provide strategies that can be used to encourage critical thinking in students and graduates that they supervise.
Otago Polytechnic (Occupational Therapy Programme Lecturers)
- Linda Robertson (co-ordinator)
- Helen Jeffrey
- Kim Reay
International team member
- Angela Benfield (USA) occupational therapist with expertise in quantitative methods; in particular - questionnaire design.
Ethics application has been submitted.
Evaluating the literature review
Three major sources of information will be reviewed:
- New Zealand literature – this will imbed the study in New Zealand work and orientation. While the primary search will be for Occupational Therapy literature, there may well be other health professional literature related to this area.
- The undergraduate curriculum – is there any evidence for ways of teaching EBP. Many of the studies looking at training health professionals to be evidence based are at Post Graduate level. As the focus of this project is about imbedding an evidence based perspective within the undergraduate curriculum, we are interested in identifying any studies that have done this in Occupational Therapy and other health professional curriculums.
- Systematic reviews; These studies of the literature will enable us to understand the EBP concerns currently and trends that have occurred over time.
Other developments: The survey was designed for an American audience so still needs some tweaking to ensure a smooth transition to the New Zealand context.
- Ako Aotearoa $10,000 (excl. GST)
- Otago Polytechnic $26,506 (excl. GST)
- Project commenced: End 2016
- Expected project completion: Mid 2018