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.