Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Physical Therapists' Perspective on Practice in Early Intervention through the Lens of Knowledge Translation
by Rabinowicz, Susan, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2017, 202; 10687374
Abstract (Summary)

With the current emphasis on evidence-based physical therapy practice, there is a need to understand how published research is translated into practice and utilized by clinicians (Hudon, Gervais, & Hunt, 2015; Jewell, 2018). Knowledge translation (KT), the process of moving research evidence into day-to-day practice, encompasses awareness of new evidence, modifications of existing beliefs and changes in clinical behaviors. The process of KT may be affected by factors associated with the practice environment, the new knowledge or the individual (Logan & Graham, 1998; Rogers, 2003d). Engagement in KT helps to ensure that practitioners are maintaining currency with the research evidence and narrowing the knowledge-to-practice gap (Rogers & Martin, 2009b; Sudsawad, 2007).

There is a paucity of research examining physical therapists’ experiences with acquiring and utilizing research evidence for practice in early intervention (Sudsawad, 2007). The purpose of this study was to explore the process of knowledge translation for physical therapists in early intervention through a theory-driven approach adapted from the Diffusion of Innovations Theory and Ottawa Model of Research Use. A qualitative exploratory study was conducted with 36 practicing physical therapists from early intervention programs in New York State. The therapists were asked to describe their practice patterns and how they acquire and utilize new knowledge.

The conceptual model captured data relevant to the process of KT. The model enabled the researcher to understand the important role that social networks have for this group of physical therapists, identified therapists based on their utilization of research-informed interventions, and identified contributing factors that exist within the individual, the practice environment and the knowledge itself that impact the utilization of research evidence.

The findings indicate variability in practice patterns among the physical therapists in this study. Some of the therapists reported using research-informed treatment interventions and others did not. The factors that influenced variability include level of professional education, membership in professional organizations and opportunities to network with professionals that have adopted an evidence-based approach to practice.

The results of this study provide important information related to how physical therapists are acquiring their knowledge in early intervention and how they are practicing. Next steps would be to gather data clarifying the steps that move therapists from acquiring research evidence to implementation. Interpretation of physical therapists’ experiences in knowledge translation is an important step in closing the knowledge-to-practice gap.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ray, Sharon
Commitee: Hammock, Amy, Muratori, Lisa, Sniffen, Janice
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Department: Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical therapy
Keywords: Early intervention, Knowledge translation, Physical therapists
Publication Number: 10687374
ISBN: 9780355672282
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