The following article of mine appeared today in my company’s monthly educational newsletter.
“Research. You, like me and almost every other clinician I’ve ever met, probably just shuddered reading that word. The word “research” conjures memories of vocabulary memorization in a university library, and more than anything lots of confusion. However, somewhere in our curricula, we were browbeaten with the necessity of reading all the research available. That is a Herculean task. It’s simply not possible for people who have jobs, family commitments, and any semblance of sanity. So we’ve given up and rely on our continuing education courses to summarize everything for us in the twenty-thirty hours required of us to keep our licensures. Is this sufficient? Is this ethical?
My journey on the research road began two years ago, when I sought out certification as a clinical instructor. In the courses, they suggested a journal club as an activity for students to participate in, showing them how research is translated into the clinical setting. I thought to myself, “I don’t even know how to ‘translate research into the clinic’ very well,” and I found that my coworkers felt much the same way. As a result, I began Journal Club as a student led activity about a year and a half ago. Then at the Academies of Neurologic and Pediatric Physical Therapy IV Step conference in July of 2016, Deborah Backus stated that it currently takes approximately seventeen years for research to arrive in everyday clinical use. Several of [the company]’s guiding principles mention our patient’s outcomes, satisfaction and functional gains being of the utmost importance in caring for our patients. We may be missing that mark if we’re providing treatment strategies that are almost two decades behind the times.
When I returned from the IV Step conference, I was invigorated to get our patients the best care possible, with a belief that knowledge translated from the lab into the clinic is key to that goal. So, I’d like to share with other [company] facilities what we are doing here at [my hospital] with Journal Club—making meals of research into digestible and applicable bites for the clinician.
Each month I, or my student if I have one, locates one journal article which has been published within that seventeen year knowledge gap that is applicable to the patients we see in our facility. That article is provided a week prior to Journal Club to any staff who wish to participate the following week. They can read the article in advance in order to prepare themselves to discuss the article and formulate questions.
On Journal Club day, we meet over lunch. I introduce the article and summarize the most important parts. As we progress through the article summarization, I encourage participants to make their own comments and toss out questions. At the end we brainstorm how the information gleaned from the article can be applied in our hospital. Then, if necessary, we petition administrators, rearrange treatment furniture, or whatever is needed to carry those new strategies to fruition. Just some examples of things we’ve learned: we were giving our levodopa drugs at inopportune times to have maximum effect during therapy and therefore greatest effect on outcomes for our Parkinsons patients; we need to improve our prevention of DVT practices (still working on this one); and practical applications of kinesiology tape in stroke. I am currently working with home office to obtain continuing education credit for participating in Journal Club.
I invite each clinician to join me on this research road. It’s easy to continue down easy street, passively taking whatever our continuing education provides us. But I challenge us all to band together, to be those passionate patient caregivers by providing the best care we can, and choose to participate in translating research knowledge into our facilities. I would love to see a Journal Club at each of our sister facilities. I would happily assist a Journal Club champion in other [company] locations to implement a Journal Club of your own. Feel free to contact me at [….]”
I apparently have caused a few waves at home office and at the hospital. First of all, I called out home office to help me. When I originally wrote this article, the person in charge of the newsletter was trying to get me in contact with the people in charge of our educational offerings. But no one ever got back to me. I guess they have to now. Hehe. It does sound like the idea was well received at home office though and people are mobilizing. And secondly, no one at the hospital knew I could write apparently. (I think maybe 1 person there follows the blog.) They all seemed rather surprised and were full of congratulations. Which I did my best to accept humbly, if rather confusedly.
So anyway, I suppose we’ll see who comes to call in the next few days. Hopefully a few “champions” will surface! Anyone else is welcome to use the contact link at the top of the page if you would like to champion a Journal Club at your place and you have questions.