Enhancing readiness of health profession students to address tobacco cessation with patients through online training

Anne Maynard1, Maripat Metcalf2 and Lyla Hance2

1University of South Florida-AHEC, USA

2Clinical Tools, Inc., USA

Submitted: 04/10/2011; Accepted: 26/03/2012; Published: 26/03/2012

Int J Med Educ. 2012; 3:57-62; doi: 10.5116/ijme.4f70.bd8b

© 2012 Anne Maynard et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To evaluate effectiveness of an online training program in preparing health care students to address tobacco use with patients.

Methods: The program was evaluated on knowledge, attitude, self-efficacy, intended behavior, and user satisfaction. Participants consisted of 4,180 medical, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and other allied health professions students. Multiple choice questions assessed knowledge before and after the educational experience. Likert scales were used for self-reporting of attitude, self-efficacy, and intended behaviors towards tobacco cessation treatments in both a pre-module and post-module survey condition. Likert scores for satisfaction were recorded in a post-module survey. Two sample paired t-tests were used to measure statistical significance.

Results: The knowledge increased significantly for all modules across users. Attitude, self-efficacy, and intended behavior scores increased. The Overview course's knowledge score increased from 59% to 89% (t[sub](649)[/sub] = 61.9; p < 0.0001). Mean knowledge scores for all modules combined increased from 51.5% to 74.0% post-test. Satisfaction with the curriculum was high, with a mean score of 4.6 out of 5.

Conclusions: The success of this program is evident by overall satisfaction, and increases in knowledge, self-efficacy, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as the ease with which it was deployed to thousands of students. Results of this study demonstrate that online training in tobacco cessation is an efficient and effective method of teaching students skills in tobacco cessation counseling, and can fill a vital gap in existing curricula.