Knowledge and Social Work in Health Care—The Case of Finland

Helsinki University, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, Helsinki, Finland.
Social Work in Health Care (Impact Factor: 0.62). 02/2007; 44(3):261-78. DOI: 10.1300/J010v44n03_09
Source: PubMed


Studies carried out in different countries have shown that there is a lack of a common and up-dated knowledge base in social work, and that social workers make use of research in their everyday practice only to a very limited extent. On the other hand it has been shown that social workers feel they need knowledge but not necessarily in the form it is produced by the researchers. This paper explores issues of knowledge and competence in health social work based on the results of a survey and a focus group interview conducted among social workers in Finland. According to the results, social workers in health care do feel they need new knowledge. Some significant differences were found in the way health social workers view the acquisition and maintenance of professional competence and in the way they seek knowledge, when compared to social workers working in the municipal social services.

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    • "No single research utilization measure had supporting validity evidence from all four evidence sources outlined in the Standards. For 12 measures [38-49], each in the 'other single-item' class, there were no reported findings that could be classified as validity evidence. The remaining 48 measures were classified as level one (n = 6), level two (n = 16), or level three (n = 26) measures, according to whether the average number of validity sources reported in 50% or more of the studies describing an assessment of the measure was three, two, or one, respectively. "
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    ABSTRACT: In healthcare, a gap exists between what is known from research and what is practiced. Understanding this gap depends upon our ability to robustly measure research utilization. The objectives of this systematic review were: to identify self-report measures of research utilization used in healthcare, and to assess the psychometric properties (acceptability, reliability, and validity) of these measures. We conducted a systematic review of literature reporting use or development of self-report research utilization measures. Our search included: multiple databases, ancestry searches, and a hand search. Acceptability was assessed by examining time to complete the measure and missing data rates. Our approach to reliability and validity assessment followed that outlined in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Of 42,770 titles screened, 97 original studies (108 articles) were included in this review. The 97 studies reported on the use or development of 60 unique self-report research utilization measures. Seven of the measures were assessed in more than one study. Study samples consisted of healthcare providers (92 studies) and healthcare decision makers (5 studies). No studies reported data on acceptability of the measures. Reliability was reported in 32 (33%) of the studies, representing 13 of the 60 measures. Internal consistency (Cronbach's Alpha) reliability was reported in 31 studies; values exceeded 0.70 in 29 studies. Test-retest reliability was reported in 3 studies with Pearson's r coefficients > 0.80. No validity information was reported for 12 of the 60 measures. The remaining 48 measures were classified into a three-level validity hierarchy according to the number of validity sources reported in 50% or more of the studies using the measure. Level one measures (n = 6) reported evidence from any three (out of four possible) Standards validity sources (which, in the case of single item measures, was all applicable validity sources). Level two measures (n = 16) had evidence from any two validity sources, and level three measures (n = 26) from only one validity source. This review reveals significant underdevelopment in the measurement of research utilization. Substantial methodological advances with respect to construct clarity, use of research utilization and related theory, use of measurement theory, and psychometric assessment are required. Also needed are improved reporting practices and the adoption of a more contemporary view of validity (i.e., the Standards) in future research utilization measurement studies.
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    ABSTRACT: Research from a number of countries reveals that social workers have problems articulating and justifying the content of their own professional actions. This study evaluates a knowledge tool entitled ‘The book of methods for the everyday practice of social work in somatic hospitals’. The purpose of this knowledge tool is to strengthen the skills of articulation and justification for social workers who practice in somatic hospitals. The findings build upon responses from a questionnaire study and from focus interviews before and after educational seminars led by the project director and project co-worker where the content of the method book was treated and discussed, as well as findings from implementation of the book. The educational seminars made possible face to face interaction focusing upon methods and contents of the book, and could be seen as consequential intervention. The findings show that the book, the educational seminars and implementation of the book together have the impact upon updating the knowledge of social workers. Furthermore, it has increased the respondent's awareness of the interventions they make with patients, improved their ability to articulate the content of their interventions, and increased their competence.
    11/2011; 1(2). DOI:10.1080/2156857X.2011.613576
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    ABSTRACT: We have explored Swedish medical social workers' attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and behavior concerning evidence-based practice (EBP) and investigated the properties of a questionnaire to measure EBP. One hundred seventy-four Swedish medical social workers within university hospital care and primary care participated in a cross-sectional survey. Our results showed positive attitudes toward EBP and the use of evidence to support clinical decision making. EBP was seen as necessary and something that needed to be implemented more often. The main barriers to implementing EBP were lack of time (78%), the perception that EBP does not take into account the limitations of the clinical practice setting (78%), and lack of knowledge about relevant research (46%).
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