An exploration of evidence-based practice work files for occupational therapy students during clinical placements: a descriptive cross-sectional study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJohnson, S. G., Bruset, E. B., Hjelle, K. M., Mongs, M., & Sveen, U. (2020). An exploration of evidence-based practice work files for occupational therapy students during clinical placements: a descriptive cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Education, 20(1). 10.1186/s12909-020-02178-2
Background Bachelor students of occupational therapy are expected to work in accordance with evidence-based practice (EBP). The EBP work file, a learning tool in a Word document format, covering all steps in the EBP process, is an approach to teaching and learning EBP. The aim of this study was to examine the attitudes and behaviours of occupational therapy students’ in relation to applying evidence-based practice during their second-year clinical placement. We compared cohorts who received training in EBP work files with those who did not receive such training. Methods A descriptive, cross-sectional comparative study was conducted. Five cohorts of second-year occupational therapy students took part in the study. The students answered two questionnaires, the EBP Beliefs Scale and the EBP Implementation Scale, after completing their second-year clinical placement. The analysis was based on descriptive statistics and calculation of the frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviations of all participating students’ scores across both questionnaires. ANOVA with Bonferroni correction was conducted to analyse the differences between the mean totals of the questionnaires. Results In this study, 126 occupational therapy students participated (response rate = 57.3%). The students reacted positively to EBP, although few were practicing EBP. The students believed that EBP resulted in the best clinical care for patients, but they lacked confidence in their own ability to apply EBP. The students in Cohort 5, who received extra instruction and assignments via the EBP work file, rated their EBP behaviour statistically lower than the students in Cohort 1, who did not receive extra training on the EBP work file. Conclusions Additional EBP work file assignments were insufficient in terms of supporting students in the implementation of EBP during clinical placements. It is, therefore, important to facilitate the learning strategies of EBP skills and demonstrate how students can practise this competency during clinical placements. Including clinical instructors in EBP teaching and learning seems essential.