University of KwaZulu-Natal (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5753-5760
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
One of the strategic goals of the College of Health Sciences is to produce evidence-based health care practitioners. In order to produce such practitioners, it is necessary for the teachers, the academic staff, to have a thorough understanding of the concept. Whilst trying to promote the concept amongst those responsible for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, it became evident that there was lack of understanding of evidence-based practice (EBP) amongst the academic staff. It was decided to try and obtain better understanding of the problem through a survey. Thus an on-line questionnaire was sent to all academic staff in the health professions of the university.

To obtain baseline information about the knowledge and attitudes of academic health care professionals to EBP.
To determine the extent to which health professionals use “evidence” in their teaching and research.
To determine perceived barriers to the use of EBP.

Based on existing literature and questionnaires that have been used, a questionnaire was developed and sent to all the academic staff in the health care professions. These professionals include medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, sports science, speech language pathology and audiology. The questionnaire was mailed out by the college’s administrative office. Ethics approval was sought and obtained from the University’s Humanities Ethics Board. Participants were asked to give their consent after reading an information sheet explaining the purpose of the research. Using this form of on-line research meant that confidentiality was ensured as names were not required on the questionnaire and they were not emailed back to the researchers. The questionnaire consisted of four sections – demographic data, knowledge and attitudes towards EBP, use of EBP and perceived barriers towards EBP.

Only 35 academic staff attempted the questionnaire, with only 23 completing it.
Knowledge and attitudes: 80% strongly agreed on a four-point Likert scale, that there is a strong need to incorporate EBP into teaching, with only 48% strongly agreeing that EBP is another perspective of clinical effectiveness.
Use of EBP: Of 23 respondents - 73.9% stated that they used EBP in their teaching and 43.5% agreed that EBP imposes another demand on an already overloaded academic. More than half said that they used journals, textbooks, internet, colleagues and the Cochrane library to improve their teaching and research. 69.6% had received some training on EBP.
Discussion: It is clear that if the faculty wishes to produce EBP health care practitioners, that academics will need to be developed. The most popular workshop that was suggested and supported was a four day workshop on evidence based clinical decision making and policy writing
evidence-based practice, health care practitioners, teaching, research, knowledge.