Next generation paramedics, agents of change, or time for curricula renewal?
Brett Williams, Paul A Jennings, Chris Fielder, Amanda Ghirardello
Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University – Peninsula Campus, Frankston, VIC, Australia
Background: Knowledge translation involves the dissemination and application of scientific research findings into clinical practice. In the health care arena, uptake of evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies is aimed at reducing inefficiencies and ultimately improving patient outcomes. However, numerous studies have purported gaps in knowledge translation in the health care professions. The objective of this study was to classify the traits of undergraduate paramedic students from Monash Univeristy, Australia, using the practice style inventory (PSI).
Methods: A cross-sectional study of students across all undergraduate years from Emergency Health and Emergency Health/Nursing was completed. Student knowledge translation levels were measured using the 17-item paper-based PSI.
Results: A total of 266 students participated in the study, of which 68.4% were females. The majority of participants were <26 years of age (n=228) and just over half enrolled in second year studies (n=134). Two subscales produced statistically significant differences: evidence versus experience (extent to which scientific evidence rather than authority is perceived as the best source of knowledge) and nonconformity (degree of comfort with clinical practices that are out of step with recommendations of leaders). There was a statistically significant difference between sex on the evidence versus experience subscale (P<0.0001, d =0.51), and between year levels on the nonconformity subscale (P<0.007, d =0.63).
Conclusion: This study identified several differences in knowledge translation subscales in the undergraduate paramedic cohorts. Further investigation is warranted in order to better understand barriers and facilitate improved uptake of evidence-based research into clinical practice and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes. Future research using a longitudinal study design to capture changing attitudes to knowledge translation in the postgraduate population may also prove valuable in curricula renewal.
Keywords: curriculum, knowledge translation, paramedic students, practice style inventory
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