Confidence levels of exercise physiology and dietetic students’ pre- and post-practicum within mental health facilities
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 20 August 2021
Issue publication date: 6 October 2021
This paper aims to examine student exercise physiologists (EPs) and student dietitians’ confidence regarding working with people with severe mental illness (SMI) pre- and post-practicum in a mental health service.
This single-arm, quality improvement project included students completing practicum within a lifestyle programme embedded in mental health services. Student EPs completed 100 h of practicum across 15 weeks as part requirement for their Bachelor of Exercise Physiology degree and student dietitians completed six weeks full-time (40 h/week) for the part requirement of their Master of Nutrition and Dietetics. Students completed the Dietetic Confidence Scale (terminology was adapted for student EPs) pre- and post-practicum.
In total, 27 student EPs and 13 student dietitians completed placement and returned pre- and post-practicum questionnaires. Pre-practicum confidence scores were 90.8 ± 17.1 and 86.9 ± 18.9 out of a possible 140 points for student EPs and student dietitians, respectively. Confidence scores increased substantially post-practicum for both student EPs [mean difference (MD) = 29.3 ± 18.8, p < 0.001, d = 1.56] and dietitian students (MD = 26.1 ± 15.9, p = 0.002, d = 1.64). There were significant improvements in confidence across all domains of the confidence questionnaire for both EPs and dietitian students.
There is a research gap in understanding the confidence levels of student EPs’ and student dietitians’ when working with people with mental illness and the impact that undertaking a practicum in a mental health setting may play. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to explore student EP and student dietitian confidence in working with people with SMI pre- and post-practicum in a mental health setting.
Griffen, K., Lederman, O., Morell, R., Fibbins, H., Curtis, J., Ward, P. and Teasdale, S. (2021), "Confidence levels of exercise physiology and dietetic students’ pre- and post-practicum within mental health facilities", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 433-441. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-12-2020-0086
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