Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Improving Evidence-Based Practice education in healthcare courses: A Participatory Action Research multiple-case study
Kylie Murphy, Tracey Parnell, Rodney Pope, Clarissa Hughes, Marguerite Bramble, Jess Biles, Simone OConnor, Michael Curtin, Lisa Speedie, Evan Plowman

Last modified: 25-06-2019


This paper synthesises the results of three participatory action research (PAR) studies undertaken to improve the integration of evidence-based practice (EBP) education in three undergraduate health courses at one Australian university: Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, and Bachelor of Physiotherapy. The PAR process with interested academics uncovered a range of EBP education strengths and weaknesses in the three courses. Common themes were evident, which are likely to be applicable in other similar courses. Identified weaknesses included a lack of explicit teaching about the meaning, principles, steps, and importance of EBP, partly stemming from a lack of shared understanding. A relative lack of emphasis on certain EBP steps was also noted, particularly the first step of ‘asking’ questions. A lack of communication with workplace learning (WPL) supervisors about how to facilitate EBP was also noted, raising concerns about variable EBP-education quality across WPL settings.  Opportunities for improvement were identified by academics in each course, across multiple subjects and year levels. In our experience, PAR has been a highly constructive approach to EBP curriculum improvement. We encourage consideration of a PAR approach for addressing similarly complex curriculum challenges.

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