University of Limerick
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Becoming evidence based practitioners: a study of final year occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy students at the University of Limerick

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posted on 2013-07-24, 14:22 authored by Fidelma Woods
Background: Health professionals are urged to use evidence-based practice to make valid decisions to optimise client outcomes and clinical efficiency (Rotter et al 2010). Education and fieldwork placement allows health professional students to develop their evidence-base practice knowledge and skills (Stube and Jedlicka 2007). The majority of evidence-base practice studies, focus on qualified healthcare professionals rather than students. Objectives: This study aims to investigate it final year health professional students, in the University of Limerick, have the perceived knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to become evidence based practitioners. Methods: A descriptive survey, Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours Questionnaire (Johnson et al 2003) was used to collect quantitative data from a convenience sample of University of Limerick students. Forty-eight final year students responded from occupational therapy (87%, n=20), speech and language therapy (92%, n=22) and physiotherapy (21%, n=6). Data was analysed using the Statistical Packages for Social Science version 20 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, USA, 2007). Results: All students reported a clear understanding of evidence-based practice and (92%, n=44) reported evidence-base practice is a routine part of their learning. Over half (54%, n=26) the students reported evidence-based practice take too much time for busy health professional students. Speech and language students reported higher percentage agreements on four out of six, statistically significant statements. Conclusion: Students reported positive knowledge, attitude and behaviours towards evidence-based practice. Difficulties using evidence-based practitioners in the future were identified. Results suggest a need to ensure effective teaching strategies are implemented for students to continue to use evidence-based practice as they transition from educational settings to clinical practice. This information could be used to inform EBP teaching and the curriculum, in heath professional programmes, to promote higher quality health care services for clients.



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