- Do you have a practice-related question, but have limited experience in research?
- Are you interested in patient oriented research, but would like some guidance?
Are you enthusiastic about applying evidence to improve clinical practice, but are not sure where to start?
Do you want to conduct research to address a knowledge or practice gap and learn more about the research process?
The BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services is launching the Research Challenge — an opportunity for direct care staff to engage with like-minded colleagues to form and answer a practice-based research question through research.
- Successful participants form research teams and apply for support to conduct a small-scale research study over a 12 month period.
- Teams are supported through educational workshops, mentors and up to $5,000 which can be used by teams to release time to work on research.
- By participating, direct care providers can develop their knowledge of research and promote evidence-informed practice.
Direct care staff are often asked to apply research in their practice, but many do not have the capacity, time or resources to engage in research themselves. However, they can use their unique understanding and experience of their programs, clients and patients to make research meaningful and relevant for improving clinical practice. Enabling direct care staff to conduct research for which they are the users of their own research allows them to fully participate in the cycle of moving research into practice.
The Research Challenge has been implemented in other health authorities in B.C. and has been evaluated to have positive clinical and professional impacts brought meaningful change to staff (e.g., procedures), patients and their families (e.g., quality of life) (Black et al., 2019). Participants became more interested in future research initiatives, dissemination activities (publishing research), interdisciplinary collaboration and promotion of evidence-based practice.
Please note that recruiting at least 1 patient partner into your research team is mandatory. We encourage research teams to involve patients in this way as engagement with patients, their families, and/or caregivers as partners throughout the research process enables the production of research findings that are relevant, accessible, and catered to the target patient population. Also known as patient & family partners, people with lived/living experience of mental health and substance use challenges, forensic services, and/or incarceration are able to be directly involved in the research process, from planning the research question to presenting findings, rather than as study “subjects.” Through a patient-oriented research approach, research is being conducted ‘with’ or ‘by’ patients rather than ‘for’ them.
Substance use research, similar to other forms of research, has typically been conducted without the involvement of people who use(d) substances. Failure to include people with lived/living experience can intensify stigma as well as fail to address the key issues that are important to the population or a specific community.
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