This weeks #OTalk is hosted by Dr. Rob Brooks, Course Director for Occupational Therapy at Leeds Beckett University. As his blog below outlines, Rob has based this week’s chat questions on feedback from pre-registration students on their experiences of research. Join Rob on Tuesday 2nd Aril at 8pm to discuss your thoughts on this topic.
Pre-registration Research “Never again!”
We would not argue with the notion that occupational therapists need to be able to interpret research and apply this to their practice. Most occupational therapists have received some research training; indeed, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists standard for pre-registration education states that an entry level therapist should be able to:
- Select and justify designs, methods and ethics appropriate to research in occupation and occupational therapy.
- Disseminate research findings in a variety of appropriate ways within and beyond the profession.
Despite research being embedded in pre-registration education, engagement with research in clinical practice is variable and the number of researchers in the profession remains limited. The reasons for this are complex, I would suggest that how students experience research in pre-registration programmes is a contributing factor.
There is little published research on the experience of research by pre-registration students. When I think about what pre-registration occupational therapy students have told me about their experiences they fit into two groups. The first is the “never again!” group. This group find the process of conducting research tortuous and they often struggle to feel skilled in using research in their practice. I worry that we have alienated this group of students from research. The reasons for this can be multi-factorial – was it the way in which research was taught, was it the type of study they carried out, was it difficulty in applying the research to practice? Each student will have their own story.
The second group is those who like research (yes, there are some!). These are the students who find research stimulating and engaging. I do however have concerns about these students too. These students are skilled in research and have the potential to be the future researchers of the profession, yet when they go into graduate jobs we fail to use or nurture their research skills. Again, we can deconstruct a number or reasons – senior staff who themselves feel threatened by research knowledge, lack of opportunity/time to carry out further research, the perception that research is for senior therapists.
What were your experiences of pre-registration research?
Is pre-registration research actually useful?
What could universities do differently to make research more accessible/enjoyable for pre-registration students?
What types of research should pre-registration students be conducting?
How can clinicians/managers use the research skills of new graduates?
What should clinicians and academics do to talent spot potential future researchers?
Host: Dr. Rob Brooks
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