Each year I contribute a training session on research for Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) trainees. I find the day very enjoyable as it provides me with an opportunity to engage with practitioners and their knowledge of the research which underpins their practice.
I am not surprised that these practitioners (mostly social workers, but increasingly nurses or occupational therapists too) are generally unaware of recent research findings which are relevant for their practice. Continuing professional development opportunities for social workers generally provide few opportunities for them to critically engage with relevant research for their practice. Critical appraisal skills are rarely taught and practitioners are generally provided with little or no time to read research papers. However, I have noticed a small change in the last decade and believe that social workers are beginning to become more aware of the research which could potentially inform their practice.
The training session I lead for AMHP trainees includes a critical introduction to the paradigm of evidence-based practice; a discussion about critically appraising research; and a discussion about how research can meaningfully inform AMHP practice. My text book on evidence-based practice (Evidence-based Policy and Practice in Mental Health Social Work) forms the reader for the session.
At the end of the day I provide the AMHP trainees with a reading list of studies that have been conducted that could usefully inform AMHP practice. It is by no means a systematic review of studies, or even a comprehensive list, but it includes 150 references which AMHPs may find useful to consult in the course of their practice. I have decided to make this list publicly available as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to all the Approved Mental Health Professionals currently participating in the national survey which we are currently undertaking.
The list of references can be downloaded by clicking here. Please download it and share it with your AMHP colleagues. If there are pieces of research which you think could be usefully added, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.