CAHSS Faculty Presentations, Proceedings, Lectures, and Symposia

Event Name

Annual NSU Health Professions Division Research Day

Event Location

Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Department of Family Therapy

Document Type


Presentation Date



Objective. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if and how the Awakenings Equine Assisted Learning program was effective at improving the professionalism, confidence, communication skills and adaptability of students preparing for careers as Anesthesiologist Assistants. Background. Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is a rapidly growing experiential model that utilizes horses to enhance participants' awareness of their own non-verbal language, communication styles, projection of self-confidence and competence, and problem-solving abilities (Chandler, 2012; Green, 2012, 2013; Kane, 2012; Trotter, 2012). Methods. As a part of their regular educational and clinical rotations, first year students in the Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA) program participated in a 6- week training that included weekly, 2 -hour Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) sessions. Each session, the AA students participated in a 2- hour experiential equine assisted activity, specifically designed to address a certain target area necessary for their development as professionals in this field. The participants completed a pre and post assessment with 93 items that measured development as they relate to the EAL sessions. Results. The data was analyzed using t-tests, exploratory factor analysis, and qualitative self-reports. Confidence, empathy, awareness, and communication were the most significant factors. Conclusion. The qualitative data reinforced the quantitative findings that showed significant improvement in the objective factors as a result of the EAL sessions.


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