Well, I mean… The Informed SLP's Monthly Reviews are helping with that in that we’re reading a huge pile of articles every month, throwing out everything that’s not immediately clinically applicable, then reviewing just the “good stuff” for you. TISLP is a massive time-saver for busy clinicians. But—nonetheless—it isn't enough. Our reviews alone don't cover EVERYTHING; particularly when you have a specific question in mind.
So, how on earth am I supposed to be reading these articles and staying up-to-date on the evidence?
Option #1: Kiss your social life, family time, and leisure time goodbye, and spend your evenings and weekends reading research articles... NO! Don’t do this. Forget that. Nobody does that. We can do better…
Option #2: Advocate for plan time. I know, I know... you don’t like this option either, because many of you are in situations where you feel like this is a non-option. But—here’s the thing—it IS an option. It IS an option to demand a certain amount of desk time each week, and use that time to access evidence and problem-solve for your clients. We help our clients by providing the best quality therapy we possibly can. Efficient therapy, even. The only way to make that happen is to take just a *little* time to look into the evidence-based options.
Option #3: Tackle it as a team. Baker & McLeod (2011) provide evidence that an EBP group can be a productive way to connect SLPs to research and increase their confidence in applying research to their caseload. As a group, the SLPs would develop a clinical question, but then have one skilled person perform the literature search, a small group critique the research, and then the whole group participate in an “EBP meeting” where they cover the evidence, then go out and individually apply it to clients. Divide and conquer can be a pretty good option, because lack of time is a legitimate barrier.
Option #4: Identify one person in your local SLP team (e.g. one person from your school district, or one person in a local group of private practitioners), and pay them (not you—your boss, obviously) to access and read research evidence for you. Or give this person a caseload release to do it. Don’t laugh. This exists, and you need to be asking for it!
Effective and efficient therapy is good for the clients/students, but also good for organizations’ bottom line, because it can lead to better treatment and kids not hanging out on school-based SLPs’ caseloads for years. So—truly—it’s not impossible to talk administrators into this. Particularly if the entire group of SLPs gets behind the idea, and sells the concept to those in charge.
Meredith Harold, PhD, CCC-SLP interviews Megan Staniforth, MS, S-LP.