Occupational Therapy strives to be an evidence-based profession. But when we get caught up in the daily grind, it can be difficult to find and put into use the best evidence in our field. If you are only being exposed to evidence once or twice a year at continuing education courses, it's going to be difficult to have an evidence based practice.
Even though we often feel that we don't have enough time for (fill in the blank), there is a way to make time for things that you deem important. Instead of putting it off for another day, pledge to take 30 minutes today to research something important to your practice. This is the length of one treatment, one lunch, one TV show, two Facebook times. Just do it (just for today) and watch as the other important items will filter in around it.
This might be a time where you can catch up on articles that you have marked or printed out from journals and just not gotten around to reading. Maybe you’d like to start looking into a treatment or evaluation technique more in depth (serial casting? Pinch and grip strength? Handwriting speeds?).
There are multiple ways to access research at various points of the evidence ladder. The easiest is having a subscription to a journal (free to AOTA members) or search service (free when renewing NBCOT registration), but it’s certainly not the only way. If you work at a teaching institution, even prn, they should have access to some full text online libraries that are relevant to OT (and if they don't, you should advocate for something to be added). Many hospitals have libraries with actual staff members (so forgotten in our internet age) who may be able to order something for you via interlibrary loan. Some professional associations offer a subscription to an online search as a membership benefit. A membership in your university’s alumni association may carry access to their library. A search on google scholar may turn up an online journal with free access (such as the oft-used in my AOTA presentation Journal of Medical Internet Research).
While it doesn’t replace reading a full article and evaluating the evidence yourself, many blogs (Your Therapy Source, ABC Therapeutics) discuss articles when they appear and spark discussion regarding their findings. AOTA posts Evidence Briefs for members in a multitude of fields. Additionally, you can also find summaries of certain topics on OT Exchange, or search the forum discussions on OT Connections.
This is an important activity. You should be able to discuss your evaluation findings and treatment methods knowing that they are backed by current research. If you find a hole in the evidence, why not take an extra 2 minutes to shoot an email to a university OT program and suggest a study for their students to conduct? If you complete this activity, please briefly share in the comments what you were researching, an article you found, or any other pertinent information.