Can a Community of Practice Improve Physical Therapists’ Self-Perceived Practice in Developmental Coordination Disorder?
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Background: Communities of practice (CoPs) are useful knowledge translation (KT) strategies, but little is known about their impact on physical therapists' self-perceived practice. Purpose: The impact of a CoP on physical therapists' self-perceived practice was evaluated, and factors influencing changes in self-perceived knowledge, skills, and practice related to developmental coordination disorder (DCD) were explored. Design: An explanatory sequential mixed-methods design was used, guided by the Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior. Methods: Physical therapists participated in a DCD physical therapist CoP, which included 2 full-day, face-to-face workshops, with access to a 5-month online forum between the workshops, and completed questionnaires at 3 time-points: before the first workshop, before accessing the online forum, and following the second workshop. Measures completed before and after the CoP included closed-ended questions providing global scores on therapists' self-perceived knowledge, skills, and practice. Physical therapists' sociodemographic characteristics, information-seeking style, use of the online forum, and behavioral change goals were also collected. Paired t-tests, ANCOVAs, and linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Results: Forty-one physical therapists completed all questionnaires. Their self-perceived knowledge, skills, and practice change scores were significantly higher (+0.47, +1.23, and +2.61, respectively; P < .001) at the end of the CoP compared with the beginning. Few of the factors explored significantly influenced therapists' self-reported change scores. Limitations: No observational data on practice change was collected. The small sample may have limited the ability to identify factors influencing self-perceived practice changes. Conclusions: The CoP increased physical therapists' self-perceived knowledge, skills, and practice. More research is needed to explore CoP impact on physical therapist practices and how behavioral changes influence patient outcomes.
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