Educating change agents. A qualitative descriptive study of graduates of a Master’s program in evidence-based practice.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBMC Medical Education 2016, 16(71) 10.1186/s12909-016-0597-1
Background Health care professionals are expected to build decisions upon evidence. This implies decisions based on the best available, current, valid and relevant evidence, informed by clinical expertise and patient values. A multi-professional master’s program in evidence-based practice was developed and offered. The aims of this study were to explore how students in this program viewed their ability to apply evidence-based practice and their perceptions of what constitute necessary conditions to implement evidence-based practice in health care organizations, one year after graduation. Methods A qualitative descriptive design was chosen to examine the graduates’ experiences. All students in the first two cohorts of the program were invited to participate. Six focus-group interviews, with a total of 21 participants, and a telephone interview of one participant were conducted. The data was analyzed thematically, using the themes from the interview guide as the starting point. Results The graduates reported that an overall necessary condition for evidence-based practice to occur is the existence of a “readiness for change” both at an individual level and at the organizational level. They described that they gained personal knowledge and skills to be “change-agents” with “self-efficacy, “analytic competence” and “tools” to implement evidence based practice in clinical care. An organizational culture of a “learning organization” was also required, where leaders have an “awareness of evidence- based practice”, and see the need for creating “evidence-based networks”. Conclusions One year after graduation the participants saw themselves as “change agents” prepared to improve clinical care within a learning organization. The results of this study provides useful information for facilitating the implementation of EBP both from educational and health care organizational perspectives.