Families benefit most when the information and support they receive is based on expert or reliable knowledge. If your advice and support, based on your personal experience, is backed up by research you can be sure you’re giving families the best information available. Research lets you flesh out your personal knowledge with a wide range of experiences.
This is especially important for health professionals working with parents. Depending on the situation, service provided to parents that is not based on evidence could in fact be damaging to the family’s wellbeing.
Some ways you can use research in your practice
- Prepare for dealing with families by looking at factual resources such as academic journals, published papers or government publications.
- Base advice about trends on published survey results.
- As much as possible, provide families with references to evidence itself. Although the raw information can be hard to follow, parents will appreciate having the option to learn more.
- Include some form of evaluation and updating of your practice. If you keep evaluating what you do in your practice you can keep it relevant to parents.
- Use up-to-date sources of evidence. This is especially important for any health professional. Your service needs to be based on the latest knowledge and developments in your field.
The last point here may seem obvious to most professionals, but new information and resources are becoming available all the time. It’s a good idea to regularly ask questions like:
- have I seen the newest research
- where can I find out more about what’s happening in my field
- am I making the use of the latest resources for professionals?
For more evidence-based information about working with families, see the following: