Evidence-based practice profiles among bachelor students in four health disciplines: a cross-sectional study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Despite the recognition of integrating evidence-based practice (EBP) in educational programs, there is limited research about bachelor students’ EBP profiles (EBP knowledge, attitudes and behaviour) in the health disciplines nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and radiography. The aim of this study was to assess EBP profiles among bachelor students in health disciplines, and explore differences between health disciplines, educational institutions, students’ assessment of EBP teaching and expectations of EBP performance. Methods: A survey using the ‘Evidence-Based Practice Profile - Norwegian version’ (EBP2-N) was conducted among final year bachelor students in health disciplines from four educational institutions. The questionnaire consisted of five domains (Relevance, Terminology, Confidence, Practice and Sympathy) and assessed the five steps of EBP. We performed regression analyses to analyse mean differences in domain scores between health disciplines, Cohen’s d to illustrate the magnitude of the largest difference in each domain, Omega squared to describe portion of variance in domain scores, and Spearman’s rho (rs) to assess the monotonic relationship between EBP2-N domains and assessment of EBP teaching and expectations of EBP performance, respectively. Results: Students reported highest overall mean score for Relevance, with an estimated standardized mean of 81.2 (CI 95% = 80.4–82.0). The other EBP2–N domains had estimated standardized means of 54 and less. Statistically significant differences (p < 0.03) between health disciplines were observed for all domains. The largest mean difference was found for Relevance with highest score for occupational therapy and lowest for radiography, with an estimated Cohen’s d of 1.11. Moderate positive associations were observed between Relevance scores and students’ assessment of EBP teaching (rs = 0.31), and expectations of EBP performance from teachers (rs = 0.36). We also observed a moderate positive correlation between Confidence and students’ assessment of EBP teaching (rs = 0.46). Conclusion: Bachelor students in health disciplines found EBP relevant, but revealed low understanding of EBP terminology, low confidence with EBP skills, and low use of EBP in clinical situations. We observed differences in EBP profiles between health disciplines and between educational institutions. The differences in scores raise questions about the understanding of EBP within disciplines, and the complexity of EBP in educational settings.