Investigating medical students’ views of the role of the Speech and Language Therapist in post-stroke care, with particular reference to dysphagia management.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: An important marker of optimal collaborative team working in stroke rehabilitation is that all members of the team have a good knowledge of other members’ level of training, roles and expertise. Previous research has focussed on the views of other Allied Health Professional students towards the stroke rehabilitation team and the role of the Speech and Language Therapist. The paucity of information regarding the views of medical students, and the lack of reference to dysphagia management in previous research has led to the aims of the present study. Aims: To investigate final year medical students’ views of the stroke rehabilitation team, and their attitudes towards the role of the Speech and Language Therapist, with particular reference to dysphagia. Methods & Procedures: A questionnaire used by Insalaco, Ozkurt & Santiago (2007) was further modified to fit the aims of this study. The questionnaire was administered to 45 final year medical students. Results & Outcomes: The respondents highly valued collaborative team working, with most (48.9%) selecting shared leadership as being the best choice for a stroke rehabilitation team, and had a realistic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of team working. They had reasonably accurate knowledge of the role of the Speech and Language Therapist in post-stroke conditions and dysphagia management, although there was some level of disagreement and confusion between participants. Conclusions & Implications: The results highlighted important areas for improvement in the undergraduate education of medical students. The curriculum should be adjusted to include formal teaching of the role of the Speech and Language Therapist, particularly in dysphagia management, information which the students could take with them into their medical careers. The same may also be true regarding medical students’ knowledge of the roles of other health professionals, and other health professional students’ views of the role of the Speech and Language Therapist, suggesting an avenue for future research.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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