Thursday, 12 July 2018

Brag and steal: Sharing stories of research and EBP at the RCSLT Research Champions workshop 2018

Thank you to Katie Chadd (@Katie_Chadd) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists have an established network of SLTs who are committed to striving "to ensure that speech and language therapy is an evidence-based, research-active profession, bringing together research and clinical practice" which is achieved by working in partnership with the RCSLT and wider research networks.

The network celebrated its increase in strength and numbers (now 273 SLTs) and the remarkable achievements of our therapists at a workshop held in London in July.

Two core aims of the day were to provide therapists with the opportunity to:
  • Share good practice initiatives to support evidence based practice
  • Develop contacts within the network to support research and development work
The format of the day varied and we incorporated presentations, a panel session, group activities, invited guest speakers, lightning talks, a poster exhibition, and practical workshops.

The attendees consisted of therapists working for the NHS with a range of experience, those in independent practice, school based SLTs, researchers, lecturers and clinical academics.

The core learning points of the day were:
  • Network, network, network! - Having support from a number of individuals in invaluable in pursuing your interests in EBP and research. Collaborations can be successful on-the-ground (e.g. encouraging colleagues to contribute to a practice-based research project) and highly important in securing fellowships (e.g. getting on to the NIHR clinical academic pathway).
  • Make it routine- exploring and applying evidence and other research activities should be part of your clinical routine and be 'normalised' in your job role. Conversations can be had to build it into your CPD plan and schedule- it is possible!
  • Persevere - obtaining a balance in clinical and research work is difficult, and you will inevitably face challenges but pushing through them can lead to fantastic results. Some approaches to dealing with these could be- reward incentives, regular feedback on successes to those who may be opposing, and opening up communication with MDT and senior colleagues.
  • Listen - a core part of taking an evidence based approach is hearing other’s perspectives, whether this is regarding the basis of clinical intervention, or a research project. The patient or service user or participant perspective is crucial and must remain at the heart of your decisions. A successful EBP approach involves asking and not making assumptions.
Research champions tweeted lots of nuggets of advice throughout the day - you can search the hashtag #ResearchChampions2018 to find out more, and also see tweets from our main research twitter feed @RCSLTResearch.

RCSLT members will also be able to view the content from the day on the website in due course, and if you would like to find out more about becoming a research champion view the Research Centre page here.

Open access useful resources and papers mentioned during the day

Claire and Annette's blog on Evidently Cochrane: Research is better together.

Bornbaum, C. C. et al. (2015). Exploring the function and effectiveness of knowledge brokers as facilitators of knowledge translation in health-related settings: a systematic review and thematic analysis. Implementation Science, 10, 162.

Support network @ClinAcSLT.

Strategy for Clinical Research Careers for Non-Medical Professions by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Tweetchat: Using Twitter for education - Beneficial or simply a waste of time?

The sixth #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 27th June.

The chat was hosted by Sophie Chalmers (@SChalmersSLT) and Chiara Vivaldi (@VivaldiC) and was based around this paper: 'Using Twitter for education: Beneficial or simply a waste of time?'

Please click here to view the pre-chat overview and questions.

We had 24 people actively tweeting and using our hashtag #ResNetSLT, with many others also watching and retweeting the conversations. There were 190 tweets in total during the hour, with a 'reach' to over 139,817 linked Twitter accounts. It was fantastic to see people interacting in the conversation from across the globe!

The debate included students, educators, supervisors, university lecturers and clinicians - the one thing everyone agreed on was that no matter the stage of your career, Twitter is great for accessing information, resources and networking across specialisms and geographies.

We had great examples of students actively networking with professionals outside of the topics taught in their course and experiencing application of course content in clinical settings. Additionally, qualified SLTs also used Twitter to follow conferences, collaborate with clinicians, expand existing knowledge and keep 'up-to-date'.
We also heard from educators who are encouraging their students to use Twitter by hash-tagging resources and pointing students to relevant Twitter handles, which is one way of getting around a problem that kept being mentioned – "how do you know who to follow?"

The main message being the importance of keeping your "critical thinking hats" on when using Twitter and the need to explicitly discuss benefits/limitations/considerations of social media so students can make informed choices about engagement.

There was also examples of 'formal' uses of Twitter within a Masters course that required a Twitter account and active Twitter use as criteria for pass/fail. Additionally, in Germany students are engaging with a Twitter journal club specifically linked to a university module.

The main downsides discussed related to diversity and safety. How do you stop Twitter becoming an "echo chamber" given that not everyone wants to be involved in Twitter? There is also a question around the appropriateness of using a public forum for assessment and reflection, and the need to factor in individual's learning styles as a public platform may not always be suitable.

Finally, there was a concern raised around work-life or study-life balance – if you can access learning 24/7 it may make it difficult to 'switch off'.

Our final discussion related to the use of other social medial platforms for educational purposes, with Facebook being an example to share resources, and online static platforms preferred for directly accessing resources or more in depth discussions.

It seems that Twitter was particularly unique in its appeal of its 'conversational' feel, perhaps a closed Twitter-type platform as mentioned by one individual is one possible approach?

Our Twitter chat ended with 96% of people voting that Twitter for education is 'beneficial'.
You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here.

Save the date in your diary now for our next chat on Wednesday, 25th July (7.30pm GMT), and join the discussion on the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI).

Friday, 8 June 2018

Clinical academic networks

Thank you to Katherine Broomfield (@KathBroomfield) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

As a speech and language therapist I accessed networks that were directly related to my clinical area. I joined special interest groups/clinical excellence networks and attended meetings to access shared learning and information which informed my clinical practice.

With regards to broader networks, I couldn't really understand how people outside my organisation or specialism would be able to help me within my role as a speech and language therapist.

When I started my PhD in April 2017, and living 200 miles away from my University, I realised I would need support that I couldn’t access in my local, rural environment. I started scouting about for sources of support on the internet and I found other clinical academics were discussing their research, clinical interests and wider concerns via social media.

I wanted to join in, but I wasn't really sure how to start. I lurked, liked, commented and finally found the confidence to join in the Tweetchats hosted by ResNetSLT.

Inspired by the people I was connecting with in my new virtual-networks, I became more engaged on Twitter and started writing a blog. I was delighted when my blog post about clinical academic careers ignited an impassioned conversation on Twitter, and was honoured to be at the inception of @ClinAcSLT – a Twitter network for speech and language therapists (SLTs) who want to pursue a clinical academic career.

At the beginning of April, a few SLTs who had been part of that twitter conversation, and who are engaged some form of clinical-academic activity, met at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in London to discuss how this new network could address some of the issues and concerns raised during the Twitter chat.

The @ClinAcSLT meeting consisted of SLTs with a variety of clinical and academic experience. As a group, we were keen that any new network should complement those already in existence. ResNetSLT, established by Dr Hazel Roddam, is primarily an online forum offering free access to research news, viewpoints and resources.

An action group now runs the monthly Twitter discussion forum for exchange of perspectives between individuals at different stages of their career, with the aim of supporting clinicians in evidence-based practice. The Twitter group has engaged with an international audience and with clinicians from a range disciplines.

The RCSLT Research Champions network (RCSLT members only) represents a range of SLTs from those who are research-interested clinicians to professors with established research portfolios. The aim of this network is to help SLTs find training and to provide a mechanism for cascading research information from the RCSLT research centre to its members.

Fellow Blogger, SLT and NIHR research fellow Anna Volkmer talked about local, university-based networks, such as the Research Generator Workshop at University College London, that aim to support clinicians who have ideas for research projects and who want to identify next-steps.

As a group we identified some of the funding bodies and pathways that can enable clinicians to engage in research such as the NIHR, MRC and charities such as the Stroke Association. Representation can be an issue within these organisations however.

The NIHR does not yet have an SLT advocate who could support SLTs to access their clinical academic pathways. Most of the large research-funders are health-focused which can make it difficult for SLTs working with children or in education to access grants.

Despite some progress being made in the development of training pathways for allied health professionals there are still very few posts that span academic and health organisations, i.e. truly clinical-academic roles.

We identified that a Clinical Academic CEN (clinical excellence network, supported by the RCSLT) could help to address some of these issues by sharing the collective wisdom and achievements of existing clinical academics with a view to developing an infrastructure that will help others in future.

Regular meetings could provide a forum for SLTs to explore funding pathways, provide face to face mentoring and support individuals to develop research ideas. The network could also be part of a strategic drive to formalise a clinical academic career structure for SLTs.

There are networks developing in other countries, such as #DrSLP in Australia, who are encountering (and trying to counter) the same hurdles as us. We discussed how we could reach out to these networks to learn from one another. The main action following the meeting was to share the discussion and Clinical Academic CEN plans via our networks.

We aim to present @ClinAcSLT at the RCSLT Research Champions meeting in July and will use the blogosphere to link our collective audiences to this post and other related resources. Check out Anna Volkmer’s blog about the inception of @ClinAcSLT.

We will use Twitter to get some feedback on our final proposal and use social media to collect stories from people at various stages of their clinical-academic careers so we can learn from their experiences.

If you have any thoughts about whether a CEN would be a valuable addition to the networks that exist to support SLTs interested in research, do get in touch.

(This post was adapted from one which first appeared on Katherine’s blog in May 2018).

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Tweetchat: A cross sectional observational study of research activity of allied health teams - Is there a link with self-reported success, motivators and barriers to undertaking research?

The fifth #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 30th May.

The chat was hosted by Elicia Jones (@EllieJSLT) and Victoria Wadsworth (@victoriawad) and was based around this paper: 'A cross sectional observational study of research activity of allied health teams: is there a link with self-reported success, motivators and barriers to undertaking research?'

It was a busy hour with 30 participants joining in and sharing their ideas and experiences of research activities within and as part of teams. Participants presented with a wide range of roles, including those completing research as clinical practitioners and those whose job roles are based in academia and research.

Also, those who had 'some' dedicated time to pursue research and/or were provided with back-fill and those who were working without any ring-fenced allocated 'time' for research. It was great to see so many people engaged in the discussion and from various locations around the world!

Key themes from participants that cropped up throughout the chat around challenges in completing research as a team echoed those cited in the research article and included:
  • Time
  • Confidence in completing research
  • Lack of skills (within the team)
  • Lack of structure or support for completing research (especially from senior leadership team who make decisions on things)
There was some great sharing of ideas and experiences on how some of these challenges have been managed and how motivation has been sustained to complete research within teams.

This included: involving the whole SLT team in the research project, creating a supportive culture for research, acknowledging the need for time to complete and discuss research, working to a deadline and some 'friendly competition' from other research teams, staying in touch with graduates once they've left university, starting with the small stuff in research (e.g. setting up a journal club), find a mentor or someone who is 'one step' ahead in the research journey and demonstrate the impact of what you're researching on you as a clinician.

Most participants who took part in the Tweetchat presented as being motivated to complete research irrespective of the circumstances in which they were doing it, e.g. with or without dedicated time and support, though the extent of this may vary such as setting up journal clubs versus being involved in team or Trust wide projects.

This reflected a key message in the research paper – that intrinsic factors present as being the strongest motivating factors on whether individuals become involved in research and the influence this has on whether a workforce team does too.

However, the fourth and final question highlighted how 62% of participants felt that barriers to conducting clinical research in the workplace outweighed the motivating factors and thus potentially inhibiting AHPs from undertaking research in the workplace. This statistic indicates how there are still improvements that need to be made to support those wanting to undertake research in a clinical role.

If you're registered with RCSLT and you're interested in finding a Research Champion or mentor that might be able to help to support research developments individually or as part of a team then you can access lots of supporting resources on their website.

Here are a few of our favourite tweets of the night – and our Vote result:

To view the full transcript from the Tweetchat please click here.

Please keep the conversation going by sharing links to any other relevant papers and online resources that everyone can access.

You can post a comment here, email or tweet @ReSNetSLT.

Here' s one paper you might like to look at next: Jo Cooke, Susan Nancarrow, Jane Dyas and Martin Williams An evaluation of the 'Designated Research Team' approach to building research capacity in primary care. BMC Family Practice 2008, 9:37 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-9-37.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

ResNetSLT presentations at 10th European Congress of Speech and Language Therapy

Our #ResNetSLT workshop on 12th May attracted a packed room of approximately 60 delegates from many different countries.

The show of hands indicated a high number of student SLTs (#SLT2B) in the audience, together with educators, clinical practitioners and researchers.

Please click here to access a copy of the presentation slides that include links for other relevant resources and recommendations for many names to follow on Twitter.

We briefly explained how the #ResNetSLT Twitter journal club runs, and that a German version has been launched. We heard about plans for a new journal club on Twitter between Netherlands and Sweden, and #ResNetSLT offered some advice and assistance based on our experience over the past two years.

It was great to hear that SLT students and practitioners are increasingly using Twitter in many languages to share research and professional discussions – as well as other social media platforms.

For anyone interested in getting started on Twitter for the first time, or for helpful hints on making the most of using Twitter to network with professional colleagues, we highly recommend the WeCommunities site.

Thanks to everyone who attended this workshop – we collected lots of new Twitter names and will add them to our contacts list on this blogsite very soon.

You'll also want to look at the slides from the oral paper presented by Professor Bronwyn Hemsley and Dr Hazel Roddam on 11th May - 'Using Twitter to Find Credible Sources and Build Research Communities: the #ResnetSLT Community'.

#ResNetSLT tweets were captured using SPREDFAST and the analysis comprised frequency counts plus content coding. This demonstrated the growth of activity over time and indicated the nature of our tweetchat discussions includes predominantly:
  • Building an identity as a researcher or clinician-researcher
  • Research cultures, training, and funding
  • Benefits and limitations of using Twitter for finding credible sources and research-themed discussions
Many thanks to Bronwyn (@BronwynHemsley) for working with us on this analysis – and for her ongoing support to #ReSNetSLT.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Why get involved in research whilst studying?

Thank you to Chiara Vivaldi (@VivaldiC) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

As a full-time speech and language therapy student I know there are a million and one things to stay on top of (and I'm doing the undergraduate course, I can't imagine what it's like for Masters students!)

So why would you want to add getting involved in research to the list?

In my case, one reason I have chosen speech and language therapy as a career is the possibility of combining clinical and academic practice, of placing yourself at the exciting and complicated juncture where academic research meets clinical practice.

I've been involved in two research projects so far, which have each required only a relatively little of my time. On the practical side, being involved has honed my assessment scoring skills (never a bad skill to practice), and given me a sense of the logistics of running a research project. The research academics have always been more than willing to answer any questions.

On a more personal level, I've found it really motivating and exciting to be there when the outcome data was collated for the first time, and glimpsing the potential difference this study could make to people's lives, and the avenues it opens for future research and clinical practice.

Now I’m aware that not all intervention studies result in improved outcomes, but that doesn’t take away from the excitement of being involved in a process that collaboratively and accumulatively leads to better outcomes.

The result is that I've signed myself up to volunteer for another research project next year, and this time I'll be the one doing the assessments. I hope I've convinced some of you to dip your toe into research too!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Tweetchat: An introduction to implementation science for the non-specialist

The fourth #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 25th April.

The chat was hosted by Amy Hilton (@AmySlt) and Sally Morgan (@sallymorganslt) and was based around this paper: 'An introduction to implementation science for the non-specialist'. The pre-chat overview and questions can be viewed here.

The Tweetchat was very fast-paced, with many threads of conversations occurring simultaneously with representation from SLT students, SLTs at different careers stages, as well as those working in research, and participants from other countries.

The average number of tweets was the highest number so far this year, potentially indicating the level of interest and engagement in the topic. Our Twitter 'impressions' were again over 300,000, with continued reach evident across the world, including an Australian contingent the following day.

It seemed those with a research background were familiar with the term 'implementation science' as a minimum. However, those with a predominantly clinical backgrounds, and students, had not necessarily heard of implementation science before reading this article.

There was much discussion of barriers to implementing evidence based practice with the factors of time and resources, a prominent theme. There was also a discussion of the potential need for culture and policy level changes and challenge to thinking that new things are 'scary'.

There were some nice examples of people trying to use EBP in practice, and the recognition that implementation science could help in achieving this.

There was plenty of sharing of resources during the chat, both of articles related to implementation science, and of wider reading plus the recommendation of a new hashtag to follow for those interested in this area #ImpSci.

Here are a few of our favourite tweets of the night:

The final question helped to summarise the Tweetchat, and provided ideas of one action participants were going to take following the discussion.

Have you read the article or did you take part in the chat? Have you implemented your plan?

For some it was to read and reflect further, so please click here to take a look at various additional resources, many shared on the night.

You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here.

And of course, please save the date in your diary now for our next chat on Wednesday, 25th May (7.30pm), with Elicia Jones (@EllieJSLT) and Victoria Wadsworth (@victoriawad) hosting.

The discussion will be based on research activity of allied health teams.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Tweetchat: Using Twitter to access the human right to communication for people who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

The third #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday 28th March.

The chat was based around the paper: 'Using Twitter to access the human right to communication for people who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)'.

It was hosted by Katherine Broomfield (@kathbroomfield) and Elicia Jones (@EllieJSLT). The pre-chat overview and questions can be viewed here.

It was great to see so many people engaged in the conversation, with over 30 actively tweeting and using our hashtag #ReSNetSLT from various places around the world! Our Twitter 'impressions' went up by almost 100,000 which was amazing too, as this indicates the potential reach of our online conversations and exchange of ideas.

There is still some evident uncertainty over whether we should be using social media which was interesting, but probably unsurprising as this is still such new territory.

Thanks to everyone who shared their own experiences of using Twitter including with people who stammer, young people with SLCN, and consideration of using it to support people to increase their social networks following a life changing event.

There was some discussion around the challenges of setting goals and measuring outcomes for SoMe in treatment/clinical intervention. At the end of the night our Twitter poll showed a positive result, although we did have an audience of voters who are clearly positive about using social media, so maybe we should be cautious about this being indicative of a definite trend within the profession for using social media.

There was some interest in the analysis used within the paper. We possibly could have focused on this more. Some people are starting to explore using social media with patients/clients but this doesn't seem to be led by the evidence base (such as the paper discussed).

One person reported a 'trial and error' approach. Maybe some of you will be interested to follow up the references below and write us a short synopsis or viewpoint piece that we can post soon on our blogsite – that would be great!

Here's a couple of our favourite tweets of the night:

There was also a nice example of accessing a Twitter hashtag #actuallyautistic to access perspectives of people with autism.

You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here.

List of related references:

Caron, J., & Light, J. (2015). My world has expanded even though I'm stuck at home: Experiences of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 24(4), 680-695. DOI: 10.1044/2015_AJSLP-15-0010.

Helen L. Paterson (2017) The use of social media by adults with acquired conditions who use AAC: current gaps and considerations in research, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 33:1, 23-31, DOI: 10.1080/07434618.2016.1275789.

Helen Paterson & Christine Carpenter (2015) Using different methods to communicate: how adults with severe acquired communication difficulties make decisions about the communication methods they use and how they experience them, Disability and Rehabilitation, 37:17, 1522-1530, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2015.1052575.

Bronwyn Hemsley, Stephen Dann, Stuart Palmer, Meredith Allan & Susan Balandin (2015) “We definitely need an audience”: experiences of Twitter, Twitter networks and tweet content in adults with severe communication disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), Disability and Rehabilitation, 37:17, 1531-1542, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2015.1045990.

Please save the date in your diary now for our next chat on April 25th and join the discussion on our next paper selection about implementing research into clinical practice.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Wilkommen! Va bene?

Thank you to Hazel Roddam (@HazelRoddam1) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

Have you seen all our new international friends who've started joining us on #ReSNetSLT?

It's been exciting to 'tweetmeet' with a growing number of new connections from across mainland Europe. A special warm welcome to Germany and Italy, who have been very active in joining our recent monthly Twitter journal club discussions.

This is such a great opportunity for immediate real-time contact with colleagues with no barriers of geography, or professional discipline.

I've just heard a new phrase today - 'connectography, not geography'. That seems so appropriate for us! Do you like it?

Here's some news about a unique conference in September - watch the video clip to hear more.

We're bringing together practitioners and academics in nursing, midwifery and health sciences from all around Europe to share inspiring examples of applied research to change practice.

Please share the link for this conference and download the event flyer and full programme here. We’d love to see you there! (PS: Yes, we'll be in Germany but the conference language is English).

Thanks to all the willing volunteers in our new ResNetSLT Action Group. We've had a great start to the year with lots more regular posts on our blogsite.

These viewpoint pieces are a great way to share personal experiences and reflections about getting involved in clinical research. Posting photos helps us feel we're getting to know each other too.

Who's going to be the first to start posting comments in reply to continue our conversations?

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tweetchat: Allied health research positions: a qualitative evaluation of their impact

The second ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 28th February.

The chat was hosted by Amy Hilton and Hazel Roddam and was based on this paper: 'Allied health research positions: a qualitative evaluation of their impact'.

The findings in this research highlight the value of allied health profession (AHP) clinical research positions. Please click here to view to pre-chat overview and questions.

We had 21 people actively tweeting and using our hashtag #ResNetSLT, with many others also watching and retweeting the conversations. There were 238 tweets in total during the hour, with a 'reach' to over 213,000 linked Twitter accounts.

Thanks so much to Caroline Bowen in Australia for saying 'hello' at the start of our chat. It was really exciting to hear comments from Germany and Italy, sharing their experiences from differing work settings.

It seems that there are still only a small number of allied health research positions established in UK practice settings, but there was a general consensus that such research roles could help to promote credibility, reputation and networks with other professions.

One of the main themes discussed was the challenge of balancing clinical and research roles. There were multiple threads reflecting some potential ways to address strategic level barriers, and to promote wider support for clinical academic posts in allied health.

Only a few days after our chat, the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) launched their latest publication 'Top Tips for Enabling Research Activity'.

This free resource is available to download here and share with your colleagues and managers at work. Let us know what you think when you've seen it.

This paper was particularly timely to help us consider a range of ways that we can offer peer-support and mentorship in clinical academic research. Thanks to everyone who generously shared your personal experiences and advice.

Thanks also to @RCSLTResearch who are hosting meetings over the summer for us to look at how we can maximise these opportunities for developing learning communities to support clinical academic research roles.

You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here.

Save the date in your diary now for our next chat on Wednesday, 28th March, and join the discussion on our next paper selection about using Twitter in clinical practice.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

My experience (so far) of a clinical-academic research role

Thank you to Millie Heelan (@heelan_phd) for producing the latest ResNetSLT blog post.

In October 2016 I took up an opportunity of a clinical doctoral research fellowship.

This involves four years of funding to work two days a week as part of an adult acute SLT team and three days a week conducting a PhD study.

Further information on conducting a clinical doctoral research fellowship can be found here.

This opportunity has been a great learning curve to date, embracing the academic world, research methods and meeting an inspiring range of people interested in changing future practice for our patients.

One thing that is very important when conducting a PhD, as well as in clinical practice, is keeping up to date and knowledgeable about research happening in your area. Here are a few ideas to remain current within your field:
  1. Get in touch with your trust library service. They are experts in creating the right search terms. They will help to successfully find publications to help answer your clinical/research questions. Most also run courses on critical appraisal too.
  2. Sign up to database alerts such as google scholar. You can allow relevant publications to be sent straight to your inbox based on the search terms you choose.
  3. Use Twitter and find key people to follow in your field. They will post links to research papers and links to others who are working on similar topics. Sometimes you find out about projects before anything has been published.
Follow @ClinAcSLT and @ResNetSLT for updates from fellow SLTs. Are there any other ways of keeping up to date with literature that you use?

Please comment below or Tweet us at @ResNetSLT.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Tweetchat: Thinking together - What makes Communities of Practice work?

The first #ResNetSLT Tweetchat of 2018 took place on Wednesday, 31st January.

The chat was based around the paper 'Thinking together: What makes Communities of Practice work?' and was hosted by Sally Pratten (@salpratten) and Lucy Benjamin (@lucybenjaminSLT).

The paper discusses the development of 'Communities of Practice' (CoPs) of healthcare practitioners, and how these work effectively. Two case studies of communities of practice were considered - one thriving and high achieving, and the other less successful. The pre-chat questions can be viewed here.

The chat drew 37 participants from Gloucestershire, Bristol, London, Surrey and the North West of England. The hour sped by, with a very lively discussion of the highly topical chosen paper about CoP.

The first and last questions seemed to elicit the most discussions - people seemed to be more engrossed in discussion during questions two and three and actually naturally seemed to move on to these without much prompting.

There was an overall consensus on a number of points:
  • The importance of social media in widening access to CoPs
  • Difficulty in how you define spontaneous CoPs and how you label them
  • General impression that structured/organised CoPs could be the start of more spontaneous interactions and community building
You can find the link to the full transcript here and our Twitter stats here. There were 275 tweets in total during the hour, with a 'reach' to almost 300,000 linked Twitter accounts. A fab start to our year!

During the chat a lot of people confirmed that they related to both ResNetSLT and Clinical Academics in SLT as meaningful personal Communities of Practice.

These groups have both recently started to generate this sense of community through Twitter, but are currently developing other additional platforms and processes for communication and information sharing.

Save the date in your diary now for our next chat on February 28th to hear everyone's comments on the paper about clinical-academic roles.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Happy New Year from the 2018 ResNetSLT Action Group

Thank you to Sophie Chalmers (@SChalmersSLT) for producing our first blog post of the year:

We start the year by bringing you 'ResNetSLT Wednesdays', providing regular updates for research news you will definitely not want to miss.

With a dedicated group of 23 members, we have exciting plans for 2018 with monthly 'Tweetchats' discussing a range of interesting papers related to implementing the evidence-base in clinical practice.

Join the chat on Twitter on the last Wednesday of every month 7.30-8.30pm UK time. We'll be posting some questions in advance each month, with the link to the paper, plus a summary posted afterwards on our blog site.

You can also keep up to date with our additional news blogs every second Wednesday of the month. And hopefully we'll start to see some comments being added in response – please feel free to join in.

Have you made your New Year's Resolutions?

Personally, I do not usually set myself New Year's resolutions however 2018 is going to be quite different: to be the active 'tweeter'!

I have used Twitter on a professional level to follow Twitter discussions, clinicians, academics and SLT services. I begrudgingly admit however that I have been quite the 'passive' tweeter, often observing from afar and retweeting comments that resonate with me.

I have however observed the fast-paced, lively conversations that develop on Twitter allowing the speech and language therapy community to collaborate and discuss topics pertinent to our practice.

Sound familiar? What better way than to use ResNetSLT Wednesdays as an interactive platform to become more 'hands on' and involved in conversations about how clinicians can implement research into clinical practice.

It's fine to just 'listen in' to the Tweetchats, but it would be great if you'll say 'hello' and let us know you're there – especially if you're joining for the first time.

And don't be shy to ask a question - it's a really great chance to find out what other people think, and what they do to engage more in research in their own practice.

As a member of the new Action Group I'm excited for the year ahead of ResNetSLT Wednesdays to hear other peoples' thoughts about implementing research into clinical practice, expand my knowledge and perhaps pick up some tips on the way.