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Nursing and physiotherapy students’ engagement in an online physical activity promotion education programme: A mixed methods pilot study

Forrest, Bruce; Neubeck, Lis; Dawkes, Susan; Pitkethly, Amanda; Hanson, Coral


Susan Dawkes


Introduction: Regular physical activity (PA) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers (Lee et al., 2012), but worldwide 25% of adults do not meet global recommendations for PA (World Health Organisation, 2018). Nurses and physiotherapists potentially play an important role in promoting PA to patients, but levels of PA promotion in healthcare remain low. Absence of PA promotion education for healthcare professionals may contribute to this (Buckley et al., 2020). This study aimed to explore student nurses’ and physiotherapists’ engagement with an extra-curricular 14-week online PA education programme, and whether completion resulted in improved self-reported motivational interviewing skills.
Methods: A mixed methods pilot study. Participants completed online pre- and post-programme questionnaires including demographics and the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity Code (Moyers et al., 2016). Moodle analytics were used to examine engagement. Non-completers were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview to explore dropout reasons.
Results: Thirty-nine students (nurses n=21, physiotherapists n=18) completed the pre-programme questionnaire. Twenty-eight (71.8%) started the online education programme and 10 (25.6%) completed all modules. Physiotherapy students (n=9) were more likely to complete than nursing students (n=1) (p=0.006). Completion did not result in a significant change in self-perceived motivational interviewing skills. Non-completers cited personal factors, difficulties with the online platform and the Covid-19 pandemic as factors influencing dropout.
Most nursing students dropped out of the programme, although this was influenced by the programme start coinciding with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a need to engage with nursing students to better understand how important they consider PA promotion education and what needs to be incorporated into future nursing curricula.

Presentation Conference Type Poster
Conference Name NETNEP 2022: 8th International Nurse Education Conference
Start Date Oct 19, 2022
End Date Oct 22, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2023