At any rate, my friend was feeling insecure about re-entering the job market. When I asked "Why?", she said she didn't know much about evidence-based practice (EBP) and thought she should learn about this before venturing into the job market. I laughed and said: "It isn't about what you know but how you problem solve/analyze using what you know, or what you can find out, and combining that with what you know about your client."
I know that folks are sometimes intimidated by research and using the evidence from research to help their clients/patients/students but in my opinion, there are 2 critical points to know:
1. AOTA (the American Occupational Therapy Association) has an excellent resource in which members have analyzed the various studies/articles and based on that analysis, they form recommendations as to how the evidence informs occupational therapy practice/practitioners. The Evidence-Based Practice and Research section is an excellent resource for evidence for the practice settings of:
- Children & Youth
- Health & Wellness
- Mental Health
- Productive Aging
- Rehabilitation & Disability
- Work & Industry
Click on the link above and then click on the right side of the page to see specific critically appraised papers and topics for each practice area/setting.
2. Despite #1, we still have relatively little evidence - many published research studies:
- have small numbers of participants, which limits the applicability of that study's findings to clients/patients who are not exactly like those participants
- use measures or assessment tools that do not effectively measure the outcomes; as a profession, we are limited in our measures and assessment tools,
- are poorly designed research studies; this was more true of older research studies but has greatly improved over the last 10 years.
As a result of these two critical issues, we need to rely on Best Practice, which is simply using the evidence we have but more importantly using the problem-solving/activity analysis skills we OTs are so good at, to best help our clients/patients. Like I said to my friend: said: "It isn't about what you know but how you problem solve/analyze using what you know, or what you can find out, and combining that with what you know about your client." :)
(c) 2014 DeLana Honaker, PhD, OTR, FAOTA