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 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.
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.