Teaching evidence-based practice (EBP) to speech-language therapy students: are students competent and confident EBP users?

Abstract

BACKGROUND The importance and value of the principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) in the decision-making process is recognized by speech-language therapists (SLTs) worldwide and as a result curricula for speech-language therapy students incorporated EBP principles. However, the willingness actually to use EBP principles in their future profession not only depends on EBP knowledge and skills, but also on self-efficacy and task value students perceive towards EBP. AIMS To investigate the relation between EBP knowledge and skills, and EBP self-efficacy and task value in different year groups of Dutch SLT students. METHODS & PROCEDURES Students from three year groups filled in a tool that measured EBP knowledge and skills: the Dutch Modified Fresno (DMF). EBP self-efficacy and task value were assessed by using a 20-item questionnaire. Both tools were validated for this population. Mean scores for the three year groups were calculated and tested for group differences using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with a post-hoc Games-Howell procedure. With a multiple linear regression technique it was assessed whether EBP self-efficacy and task value predict learning achievement scores on the DMF. Other possible predictors included in the model were: level of prior education, standard of English, having had mathematics in prior education and the SLT study year. OUTCOME & RESULTS A total of 149 students filled in both measurement tools. Mean scores on EBP knowledge and skills were significantly different for the three year groups, with students who were further along their studies scoring higher on the DMF. Mean scores on the EBP self-efficacy and task value questionnaire were the same for the three year groups: all students valued EBP positive but self-efficacy was low in all groups. Of the possible predictors, only the year in which students study and EBP self-efficacy were significant predictors for learning achievements in EBP. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS Despite a significant increase in EBP knowledge and skills over the years as assessed by the DMF, the integrated EBP curriculum did not raise levels of EBP self-efficacy and task value. This lack of feeling competent might have an impact on students' willingness actually to use EBP. In curricula, therefore, there should be a focus on how to raise EBP self-efficacy in SLT students. This goes even beyond the educational department because a professional culture in which professionals are competent and confident EBP users would have a positive effect on EBP self-efficacy in students.

DOI: 10.1111/1460-6984.12020

Cite this paper

@article{Spek2013TeachingEP, title={Teaching evidence-based practice (EBP) to speech-language therapy students: are students competent and confident EBP users?}, author={Bea Spek and Margreet Wieringa-de Waard and Coleen Lucas and Nynke van Dijk}, journal={International journal of language & communication disorders}, year={2013}, volume={48 4}, pages={444-52} }