Does Utilizing Laboratory Based Patient Scenarios in a Physical Therapist Assistant Neurology Class Improve the Students’ Perceptions of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP): A Case Report
Purpose: Evidenced-based practice (EBP) in the field of physical therapy came to a focus in the mid 1990s. Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are expected to be able to apply the EBP principles to patient care, yet no research exists in the area of EBP from the PTA perspective. The purpose of this case report is to investigate PTA students’ perceptions of EBP after the utilization of laboratory based patient scenarios in a PTA neurology class.Methods/Description: Fourteen, Phase II PTA students at a rural technical college in South Carolina took part in this study. They were enrolled in a one plus one model curriculum and had completed one, seven-week, clinical affiliation. All were in their last semester of coursework prior to their final clinical affiliation. One course "PTH: 244, Rehabilitation," included basic neuroanatomy, pediatric neurology and adult neurology. Their only previous exposure to EBP was at the initial orientation to the utilization of campus library resources nine months earlier. The test course used in the study was "PTH: 244, Rehabilitation." Students completed all outlined textbook and laboratory materials that encompassed baseline interventions before being given the opportunity to conduct EBP. Once the students had completed the standard laboratory sessions where they were educated in the "standard" treatment methods for each patient population, they were then given the same scenarios to integrate EBP skills. Students were given a survey to complete regarding their perceptions of EBP prior to receiving their initial lecture in EBP and again as a follow up upon completion of the four lab sessions. No surveys regarding the perceptions of EBP amongst PTAs or PTA students existed; hence, one was created. This survey sought to determine students’ perceptions of EBP, pre and post intervention. Students were given four attempts to practice EBP in the lab setting. The outcome of this intervention sought to determine if laboratory activities utilizing EBP enhanced the students’ perceptions of EBP. If successful, the results would indicate an increase in positive attitudes on the survey, which had utilized a five-point, Likert scale ranging from "Strongly disagree" to "Strongly agree." It was also hypothesized that student scoring on the rubric would improve during the four sessions as their EBP skills improved.Results/Outcomes: Means of the pre-survey results, post-survey results, as well as percent change were analyzed for each of the twelve questions. All questions showed a positive change in perception of EBP from start to finish of the project. Class averages from each session showed a consistent increase from initial to final lab session.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: Utilization of laboratory scenarios in a PTA neurology course improved the students’ perceptions of EBP in all categories surveyed. Data also suggested that the activity improved the students’ abilities to practice EBP within the laboratory setting, on model patients.References: 1. Jewell DV. Guide to evidence-based physical therapy practice. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2008. 2. Gordon Guyatt, Drummond Rennie, Maureen O’Meade et al. Users' guides to the medical literature: Essentials of evidence-based clinical practice. Second edition. US: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2008. 3. Claridge J, Fabian T. History and development of evidence-based medicine. World J Surg. 2005;29(5):547-553. 4. David L. Sackett, William M. C. Rosenberg, J. A. Muir Gray, R. 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