How soon do allied health professionals lose confidence to perform EBP activities? A cross-sectional study

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Objective: To explore if there is a relationship between allied health professionals' confidence to perform a range of evidence-based practice (EBP) activities and the time since they graduated from their entry-level degree and the presence of postgraduate qualifications. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Allied health professionals from two Australian public metropolitan health services, including acute, subacute, and community settings. Participants: Sample of 288 (n = 288) allied health professionals from the disciplines of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work, dietetics/nutrition, and other. Main outcome measure: Cross-sectional survey including 12 questions measuring respondents' confidence to conduct a range of EBP activities. Results: Allied health professionals begin to lose confidence related to EBP activities within the first 5 years of clinical practice, particularly for those activities involving critical analysis of published studies. Respondents with postgraduate qualifications were more likely to report greater confidence with EBP activities, suggesting that higher level qualifications protect against the effect of degradation of EBP skills and confidence over time. Conclusions: Allied health professionals' confidence to perform EBP activities degrades over time, particularly for those individuals with no postgraduate qualifications. Registration and accreditation bodies along with allied health professional employers should explore potential strategies to preserve and enhance EBP skills, confidence, and behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-612
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • allied health professionals
  • clinical confidence
  • evidence-based practice
  • research utilization

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