Gagliardi, A. R., Webster, F., Perrier, L., Bell, M., & Straus, S. (2014). Exploring mentorship as a strategy to build capacity for knowledge translation research and practice: A scoping systematic review. Implementation Science, 9(1), 1-10.
Knowledge translation (KT) refers to the movement of research knowledge into practice. It improves healthcare outcomes by promoting the use of new findings in clinical settings, management settings, and decision-making regarding healthcare policies. Within KT there is knowledge transfer which is the movement of new knowledge from research to practice, and knowledge exchange which is the multidirectional movement of knowledge between researchers and knowledge users (i.e., clinicians, decision makers, policy makers). Engaging in KT is a complex process and for these approaches to be successful the appropriate knowledge of KT, infrastructure for KT, and incentive to engage in KT need to be in place.
It has been identified that those involved in KT would benefit from receiving support to build their KT capacity. In the past, building KT capacity involved KT training for those involved in a KT project. The current authors were interested in the use of mentorship to increase KT capacity. Mentorship provides the chance for an interactive experience and a partnership between the mentor and mentee to promote learning and development of KT.
In this study the authors completed a scoping review to examine the effectiveness of mentorships as a way to support the development of job-related knowledge. They were interested in understanding the components that support a successful mentorship (e.g., design of mentorship, goals of mentorship). The scoping review identified 13 articles that reported on the use of mentorships to increase job-related knowledge. Results revealed that in 12/13 studies those in the mentorship self-reported that they achieved their goals related to the mentorship. In most studies the mentorships were formally established, mentees were specifically matched with mentors, and most mentorships were hierarchical. Some barriers faced in mentorships included issues if specific goals were not laid out by mentorship program, and if the mentee felt that their mentor was untrustworthy.
These results provide insight into the importance of preparing, educating and supporting those who are engaging in a new project. Mentorships are an interactive way to support the development of new knowledge and skill. This scoping review was the first step in understanding what components are necessary for a successful mentorship. As more researchers and knowledge users begin to engage in KT approaches, understanding how best to prepare and support those involved in the process will be important for project success.
Blogger: Meghan Vollebregt is a student in the combined SLP MClSc/PhD program working under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Archibald.