Bone and Joint Institute

Individual and organizational factors associated with evidence-based practice among physical and occupational therapy recent graduates: A cross-sectional national study

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Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

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© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Background: Occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) programs in Canada have moved to graduate-level entry education to address graduates' readiness for evidence-based practice (EBP). Whether rehabilitation professionals with advanced training in EBP are meeting their responsibilities as evidence-based professionals upon entry into practice and the factors that influence the use of evidence is unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the individual and organizational factors associated with the use of EBP and supporting evidence-based activities among graduates of professional OT and PT master's programs. Methods: A cross-sectional design using a survey of recent graduates of the 29 OT and PT programs in Canada. The survey measured six constructs supportive of EBP (ie, knowledge, attitudes, confidence, organizational resources, actual use of EBP, and evidence-based activities). Analyses consisted of descriptive statistics to characterize the sample and the different variables and ordinal multivariate regression analysis. Results: 257 graduates (15%) completed the survey. Attitudes towards EBP was positively associated both with evidence-based activities (odds ratio = 1.36 with a 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.52) and use of EBP (odds ratio = 1.23 with a 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.36); greater confidence was related to greater use of EBP (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.24); and working in a private practice setting was found to be related to performing more evidence-based activities (odds ratio = 3.15, 95% CI: 1.40 to 7.12). Conclusions: Despite a greater focus on EBP knowledge in these curricula across Canada, knowledge was not related to EBP use nor evidence-based activities upon entry into practice. On the other hand, attitudes, confidence and working in private practice were. University programs should consider curricular strategies that increase the use of EBP, provide opportunities to engage in evidence-based activities with an emphasis on promoting the development of positive attitudes towards EBP and increasing learners' confidence in their ability to be evidence-based professionals.

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