What does it take to make a practice change, #WeSpeechies?

Making a change in your practice – what does it take?

This is the theme for Twitter’s @WeSpeechies from 20th-26th April 2014, when I will be taking a turn to curate. An hour-long #WeSpeechies tweetchat on Tuesday 22nd at 8pm (BST) includes 5 questions to focus the discussion.

These questions come from work to date on my PhD, where I am exploring practice change in speech and language therapy. Making a change in our practice means integrating or replacing what we are used to doing with something different. We are familiar with how hard this can be from our efforts to support change in our clients’ communication skills and environments. But do we see our own behaviour or contexts in the same light? While there are countless changes we could make, only some will get off the ground, and still fewer will be sustained. Questions 1 and 2 are therefore:

Q1 What have you managed to do differently in practice, and why? #WeSpeechies

Q2 What in your practice has not changed, and why? #WeSpeechies

The research field of ‘implementation science‘ aims to make sure that practitioners can use research knowledge that will benefit their clients. It therefore looks for systematic ways to understand and support practice change. Some implementation studies use psychological behavioural change techniques such as incentives to encourage practitioners to adopt a different approach. Others draw on sociology, to take account of how a practitioner’s actions are always shaped and constrained by circumstances and other people. Whatever way a researcher chooses to investigate implementation, it is clear that changing practice is not a neat and tidy box-ticking event, but a messy and complex social process.  This leads us to the remaining questions:

Q3 Where do your new ideas for practice come from, and how do you share them? #WeSpeechies

Q4 Apart from your own motivation, what influences how you sustain or adapt practice? #WeSpeechies

Q5 How do you decide if a practice change is worth continuing? #WeSpeechies

If you are joining a chat for the first time, guidelines for #WeSpeechies’ Tuesday Chats are here. Just use A1, A2 etc at the start of tweets to show which question you are answering, and always tag your tweets with #WeSpeechies so that all following the chat can see them.

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