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Does training change practice? A survey of clinicians and managers one year after training in trauma-informed care

Theresa Maureen Williams (Western Australian Centre for Mental Health Policy Research, Graylands Hospital, Perth, Australia) (School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Geoffrey Paul Smith (Western Australian Centre for Mental Health Policy Research, Graylands Hospital, Perth, Australia) (School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the impact of a trauma-informed care (TIC) training programme on practice at the individual and workplace level in mental health and drug and alcohol services and to examine the implications of using training alone as a strategy for achieving system-level practice change.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 271 clinicians and managers from public mental health and drug and alcohol services in Western Australia who had undertaken TIC training were invited to complete an on-line survey 12 months after training. Individual survey items were based on a five-point Likert scale with opportunity being provided for additional comments from respondents.

Findings

One year post-training, both clinicians and managers reported that training had increased their awareness and knowledge and had a positive impact on their attitudes towards TIC. Clinicians reported a moderate impact on their individual practice and both groups reported very limited success in bringing about change in their workplaces. Workforce development and organisational factors were identified by both clinicians and managers as being barriers to implementation.

Research limitations/implications

Only 30 per cent of the training participants responded to the survey and it is not possible to determine whether they differed from non-respondents. Findings were based on a self-report survey with no objective measure of behaviour change.

Originality/value

This “naturalistic” study examines the longer-term impact of training, from the perspective of clinicians and managers, on changing practice at the individual clinician and workplace level. It highlights the critical importance of understanding and addressing contextual factors where collective, coordinated behaviour change is needed in order to effect organisational change.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Elizabeth Moore, former Executive Director Mental Health, South Metropolitan Health Service, WA Department of Health for instigating the research study.

Citation

Williams, T.M. and Smith, G.P. (2017), "Does training change practice? A survey of clinicians and managers one year after training in trauma-informed care", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 188-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-02-2016-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited