Lessons Learned from Teaching the 5 Steps of EBP: An Assessment of Student Self-Efficacy
Purpose: In 2014, the APTA Section on Research, Evidence Based Practice Special Interest Group, published the first consensus guideline on curricular objectives for teaching evidence-based practice in entry-level physical therapy programs (EBP-G). The document delineated skills related to the critical consumption and application of evidence. The aim of this project was to objectively assess students’ perceptions of self-efficacy in the area of evidence-based practice (EBP) following modifications of one university’s curriculum to align with the EBP-G objectives. Description: Faculty teaching critical inquiry coursework, with the collaboration of a liaison librarian, reviewed and re-designed the EBP curricular line in one university’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The final goal of the curriculum was that students obtain, appraise, interpret and synthesize evidence with emphasis on the application to clinical practice. The curricular review was a dynamic process which included a review of course content, syllabi modifications, and development and implementation of a set of standardized tools and assignments to optimize learning and skill development. Instructional activities designed to integrate EBP content throughout the curriculum included information literacy skills, generation of foreground and background questions, effective literature search approaches, the process of critical appraisal, and the ability to integrate evidence and generate conclusions around EBP in clinical practice. Summary of Use: Following integration of the EBP-G objectives into the courses and capstone projects, student perceptions of self-efficacy in EBP were assessed using the Self-Assessment of DPT EBP Curriculum Terminal Objectives tool developed by Kaplan and Tilson. Three student cohorts were compared: 1) A control group who did not participate in the modified curriculum or any clinical affiliation experiences, 2) A cohort who did participate in the modified curriculum but had not been in clinic yet, and 3) A cohort comprised of students who had just completed all clinical affiliations and their culminating capstone projects. An objective was considered achieved when >75% of the cohort rated themselves as “independent with experience.” Data revealed that all students who completed the modified curriculum perceived themselves to have achieved all EBP-G objectives, with the only exception being, “Develop a strategy to use available technology (e.g. push) to maintain currency across their professional career.” Contrarily, those in the control group perceived difficulties across the five steps of EBP, specifically in 22 of 33 terminal objectives. Importance to Members: Application of the EBP-G is feasible within an academic curriculum. Findings from the assessment of a curriculum redesigned to align with the EBP-G objectives suggests that framing curricular elements around these guidelines may enhance students’ perceptions of self-efficacy in the area of EBP. A process of outcome assessment of the terminal objectives using tools from the CREATE framework is ongoing to investigate how didactic training in EBP translates to clinical practice.