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Abstract

Purpose: Evidence-based practice (EBP) integrates the best evidence from research, clinician expertise, and patient preferences and values to deliver the highest quality of care to improve patient outcomes. Occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and rehabilitation students gain exposure to EBP through both didactic and experiential learning. The differences in cultural, educational systems, and student learning styles between the United States and China may lead to different students’ perceptions and attitudes towards EBP. The purpose of the study was to characterize and compare the perceptions of and attitudes towards EBP between the U.S. and Chinese OT and PT students. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of the Evidence-Based Practice Process Assessment Scale (EBPPAS) was sent to professional students enrolled in Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), and Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) programs at three universities in the U.S. (n=1,062) and OT, PT, and rehabilitation students of four-year bachelor programs at four universities in China (n=1,017). Students’ perception of the overall and individual domain of EBP was compared between the U.S. and China with independent samples t-test. Results: In general, all students showed a positive attitude towards EBP across the five domains. The U.S. DPT students had the highest mean score of 3.90 in the domain of “attitude about EBP” followed by the U.S. MOT students (mean=3.88), and the U.S. OTD students (mean=3.84). On average, the U.S. students scored 0.44 (13.8%) higher than Chinese students in all domains combined. Responses from both countries showed the highest scores in the domain of “attitude about EBP” followed by “familiarity with EBP” and “intention to engage in EBP”. In addition, the overall mean score increased non-significantly by 0.07 for the U.S. students from 1st year to 3rd year while it increased significantly by 0.15 (pnd year to 4th year. Conclusion: Few research studies have compared professional students’ attitudes towards EBP between the U.S. and China. This study demonstrated that the U.S. students were more positive overall and in all five domains. Future studies may focus on novice ways to promote EBP in didactic teaching and in clinical practice.

Author Bio(s)

Yongyue Qi, PhD, MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Creighton University.

Bobbi Greiner, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, is Vice-Chair for Education and External Relations and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Creighton University.

Angela Patterson, OTD, OTR/L, FNAP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Creighton University.

Keli Mu, PhD, OTR/L is a Professor and the Chair of the Occupational Therapy Department, Creighton University.

Heather Javaherian-Dysinger, OTD, is an Associate Professor and the Program Director in the School of Allied Health Professions at Loma Linda University.

Kate DeCleene Huber, OTD, OTR, MS, is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the School of Occupational Therapy at the University of Indianapolis.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Yonghong Yang, Fanyuan Meng, Xiaodang Liu, Ya Qui for their efforts in recruiting participants in China for this study.

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