The impact of a small-group educational intervention for allied health professionals to enhance evidence-based practice: mixed methods evaluation

Sharon Mickan, Joanne Hilder, Rachel Wenke, Rae Thomas

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Healthcare professionals are recommended to use evidence-based practice (EBP) principles to update and improve clinical practice. Well-designed educational initiatives, together with practice and feedback opportunities can improve individuals' EBP knowledge, skills and attitudes. METHODS: A concurrent mixed methods assessment was designed to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of four monthly workshops on allied health professionals' knowledge, skills, self-efficacy and behaviour. In between workshops, professionals were encouraged to practice and integrate EBP learnings with colleagues in their workplace. Participants completed three pre and post intervention assessments: Evidence-based Practice Confidence Scale; adapted Fresno test; and an adapted EBP Implementation Scale. A purpose designed satisfaction questionnaire was completed immediately after the educational intervention and follow up focus groups were conducted after 3 months. Mean change in assessment data was quantitatively assessed and comments from the clinician satisfaction questionnaire and focus groups were thematically analysed and interpreted together with quantitative data using the Classification Rubric for EBP Assessment tools in Education (CREATE). RESULTS: Sixteen allied health professionals participated in the EBP workshops and completed all baseline and post intervention assessments. Seven clinicians participated in follow up focus groups. All clinicians reported a positive reaction to the learning experience, preferring short monthly workshops to a full day session. They self-reported improvements in self-efficacy (mean change 15 p < 0.001) and implementing EBP behaviours (mean change 7, p < 0.001) from pre- to post-intervention. Although the positive change in EBP knowledge measured by the adapted Fresno test was not statistically significant (mean change 10, p = 0.21), clinicians described examples of improved knowledge and skills across all five key steps of EBP during the focus groups. A further, post hoc analysis of individual questions in the two self-reported scales indicated consistent improvement across key EBP knowledge and skills. CONCLUSIONS: A tailored small group EBP education intervention can enhance AHPs' self-efficacy to develop answerable questions, search the literature, critically appraise, apply and evaluate research evidence. Through practicing these behaviours and sharing new learning with their peers, allied health professionals can enhance their capability and motivation to use research evidence to potentially improve clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019


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