Sarah Whitehead [MDT Series] –
Evidence Informed Practice For Therapists
Posted By: Andy Barker
You know about evidence based practice right?
But what about evidence ‘informed’ practice?
Working in sport is anything but black and white.
Almost all of what you in sports that grey area as you try to push the boundaries of science to get the most out of your athletes.
What you do as a practitioner should always be guided by the evidence base…
But within sport you need to be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of your athletes at that specific time.
And this is not just a sports thing.
Finding the right balance between what the evidence says and what is needed for that individual or team is a skill…
A skill that can help you better manage your athletes or patients in any setting, whether you work in the NHS or private practice, or in elite sport.
I caught up recently with sports scientist and lecturer Dr Sarah Whitehead and this concept was the cornerstone of much of what we discussed.
Sarah has a strong academic background but also a wealth of applied experience, working with all different types of athletes, and currently works with the Leeds Rhinos Netball team in the Vitality Super League as their Head of Athletic Performance and Development.
Sarah spoke about how the evidence base should inform what we do, not necessarily dictate what we do.
She spoke at length about the softer skills needed to get the best out of the athletes she works with.
And this is key.
If you can find the right balance between the hard evidence…
And the soft skills, like communication, you will ensure you are delivering the most up to date evidence…
In a way that is well received, understood and completed by the patients or athletes you work with.
Just because the evidence base says one thing and that doing this protocol, this exercise or this test is the ‘best,’ if you are not able to apply these interventions in the right way…
Then they are not worth the paper they are written on!
These softer skills can be challenging to develop, particularly so as they are skills that are not really given the time and attention they should be during your University studies.
You spent so much time developing your clinical skills, like your assessments, treatments and rehab skills, little time was left for communication skills, learning how to build rapport, team-working and how to be empathetic.
Regardless of what the evidence base says…
You will never have the same impact, and you will not get the same great results without these softer skills.
You can hear my conversation with Sarah on my latest podcast episode which will go live later this week.
You will be able to catch it in full right here…