A significant number of Swedish practitioners are offered workshop trainings in motivational interviewing through community-based implementation programs. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate to what extent the practitioners acquire and retain skills from additional supervision consisting of feedback based on monitoring of practice.
A total of 174 practitioners in five county councils across Sweden were randomized to one of the study's two groups: 1) Regular county council workshop training, 2) Regular county council workshop training followed by six sessions of supervision. The participant's mean age was 43.3 years, and the majority were females (88.1%).
Recruiting participants proved difficult, which may have led to a biased sample of practitioners highly motivated to learn the method. Although slightly different in form and content, all the workshop trainings increased the participants' skills to the same level. Also, consistent with previous research, the additional supervision group showed larger gains in proficiency compared to the group who received workshop training only at the six-month follow-up. However, analyses showed generally maintained levels of skills for all the participants at the follow-up assessment, and the majority of participants did not attain beginning proficiency levels at either post-workshop or follow-up.
The results of this study address the real-life implications of dissemination of evidence-based practices. The maintained level of elevated skills for all participants is a promising finding. However, the low interest for obtaining additional supervision among the Swedish practitioners is problematic. In addition, neither the workshop trainings nor the additional supervision, although improving skills, were sufficient for most of the participants to reach beginning proficiency levels. This raises questions regarding the most efficient form of training to attain and sustain adequate practice standards, and how to create incentive and interest among practitioners to participate in such training.
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