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A multi-professional evidence-based practice course improved allied health students' confidence and knowledge

Authors


Dr Sally Bennett, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia. E-mail: sally.bennett@uq.edu.au

Abstract

Purpose  To evaluate the effectiveness of a semester-long multi-professional university course teaching evidence-based practice principles to allied health students in terms of changes in attitudes, confidence, and perceived and actual knowledge regarding evidence-based practice.

Methods  This was a pre–post study of allied health students who completed a multi-professional university course that taught evidence-based practice skills and concepts. The course was run over a 13-week period (2 hours per week) and utilized didactic lectures, tutorial and workshop formats, and a hands-on database searching session. Participants completed a questionnaire which assessed their attitudes, confidence, and perceived and actual knowledge regarding evidence-based practice on the first and last day of the course.

Results  Ninety-one students participated in the study; however, complete data sets were available for only 59 participants. Attitudes towards evidence-based practice did not significantly improve; however, attitudes were already positive prior to undertaking the course. There was a statistically significant improvement in confidence with a mean increase of 9.02 [score range 6–30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 8.21, 9.82]. Perceived knowledge improved with a statistically significant mean increase of 14.15 (score range 5–25, 95% CI 12.55, 15.75) and there was a statistically significant mean increase in actual knowledge of 3.56 (score range 0–10, 95% CI 2.83, 4.29).

Conclusions  Teaching evidence-based practice skills and concepts to allied health students within a multi-professional university curriculum improved confidence and perceived and actual knowledge regarding evidence-based practice. Further research is needed to determine if these changes result in long-term behaviour change once students graduate, and to consider optimal methods for multi- and interprofessional delivery of evidence-based practice training.

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