oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - The knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of healthcare students and professionals regarding the interdisciplinary health worker team at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital : original research
Objective: To determine the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of healthcare students and qualified health professionals regarding theinterdisciplinary health worker team.
Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Stellenbosch University (Tygerberg Campus) and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Western Cape.
Subjects: The sample (n = 529) consisted of first-year students, final-year students and working professionals in the fields of medicine, dietetics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language and hearing therapy.
Outcome measures: Self-administered, face-validated questionnaire.
Results: There was an increase in knowledge in the final-year students when compared to the first-year students of their understanding of each profession. However, this improvement was not apparent when the working professionalsâ?? understanding was compared to the final year students. The results indicated an increase in understanding of the scope of practice of allied health sciences (p-value = 0.001), and agreement that the patient would always benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. It was found that better patient prognosis was strongly associated with the care provided by an interdisciplinary team. This association increased from first-year students to final-year students (p-value = 0.019). Doctors were considered to be most valuable in the interdisciplinary team. The allied health sciences received comparable value ratings. The more advanced the years of experience, the less comfortable participants were to assume some of the roles of another discipline. Knowledge of the role of the dietitian increased from first-year students to final-year students (p-value = 0.001), but it remained the same for the professionals.
Conclusion: There was an increase in knowledge and a positive change in the attitudes and perceptions of healthcare students and professionals in accordance with years of experience.
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