Measuring the Effectiveness of Mentoring as a Knowledge Translation Intervention for Implementing Empirical Evidence: A Systematic Review
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BACKGROUND: Mentoring as a knowledge translation (KT) intervention uses social influence among healthcare professionals to increase use of evidence in clinical practice. AIM: To determine the effectiveness of mentoring as a KT intervention designed to increase healthcare professionals' use of evidence in clinical practice. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using electronic databases (i.e., MEDLINE, CINAHL), grey literature, and hand searching. Eligible studies evaluated mentoring of healthcare professionals responsible for patient care to enhance the uptake of evidence into practice. Mentoring is defined as (a) a mentor more experienced than mentee; (b) individualized support based on mentee's needs; and (c) involved in an interpersonal relationship as indicated by mutual benefit, engagement, and commitment. Two reviewers independently screened citations for eligibility, extracted data, and appraised quality of studies. Data were analyzed descriptively. RESULTS: Of 10,669 citations from 1988 to 2012, 10 studies were eligible. Mentoring as a KT intervention was evaluated in Canada, USA, and Australia. Exposure to mentoring compared to no mentoring improved some behavioral outcomes (one study). Compared to controls or other multifaceted interventions, multifaceted interventions with mentoring improved practitioners' knowledge (four of five studies), beliefs (four of six studies), and impact on organizational outcomes (three of four studies). There were mixed findings for changes in professionals' behaviors and impact on practitioners' and patients' outcomes: some outcomes improved, while others showed no difference. LINKING EVIDENCE TO ACTION: Only one study evaluated the effectiveness of mentoring alone as a KT intervention and showed improvement in some behavioral outcomes. The other nine studies that evaluated the effectiveness of mentoring as part of a multifaceted intervention showed mixed findings, making it difficult to determine the added effect of mentoring. Further research is needed to identify effective mentoring as a KT intervention.
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