Objective: The aim of this study was to describe and assess an activity that trained chiropractic students to counsel patients on weight management through the use of standardized patients.
Methods: This was a descriptive study using mixed methods. Students were trained to apply health behavior theory and the transtheoretical model. Standardized patients were given a case to portray with the students. Students had 15 minutes for the encounter. The encounters were assessed in 2 ways: (1) standardized patients answered a brief questionnaire about the students' performance, and (2) students answered a questionnaire about the utility of the intervention. Numerical data were extracted from the audiovisual management platform, and statistics were computed for each question. Comments made by students and patients were transferred verbatim for content analysis.
Results: A total of 102 students took part in the activity. Students' performance in the encounter was uniformly high, with over 90% “yes” responses to all questions except “gave me printed information material” and “discussed the printed material with me.” The key issue identified in the comments by standardized patients was that students tended not to connect weight management with their chief complaint (low back pain). Nearly all students (97%) thought the activity would be useful to their future practice, and 97% felt it had increased their confidence in providing weight management counseling.
Conclusion: This experiential activity was assessed to be useful to students' future practice and appeared to provide them with skills to successfully communicate with patients on weight management.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, Educational Assessment, Evidence-Based Practice, Health Promotion
Author affiliations: CH: Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, Texas; MR: University of Science, Arts, and Technology–College of Medicine, Morrison, Colorado; CLK: Assessment and Development Center at Texas Chiropractic College
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