UCA students in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) have been spending more time this year learning about stroke prevention and treatment. Stroke awareness has been incorporated into many courses within the CHBS. In addition, in November, 2010 students were able to attend a 50-minute in-service seminar about stroke that was held on the UCA campus. Topics covered were myths (i.e. stroke only strikes the elderly and is not preventable or treatable), types of stroke, brain structures affected by it, warning signs and risk factors for stroke or Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), prevention and recovery, and the health care team involved in stroke rehabilitation. To assess the impact on student knowledge from exposure to the stroke materials and student perception of its educational value, professors at UCA carried out a short term study.
To recruit subjects for the study, instructors teaching courses within the CHBS were asked to invite students to participate. Some instructors provided extra credit to students for attending the seminar. Although 92 students were recruited, only 73 were tracked because they completed the three components of the study: pre- and post-test and attendance at the stroke seminar. These were students majoring in such disciplines as occupational therapy, psychology, and nursing. Among the 73 were 58 (79.5%) females and 15 (20.5%) males, 18 to 40 years of age and an average age of 21.9 years (SD = 4.2). Their educational classification was 20 freshmen and sophomores (27.4%) 20 juniors (27.4%), 23 seniors (31.5%), and 10 (13.7%) graduate students.
A week before the seminar, these 73 students accessed an Internet link to complete a 20-item test developed by CHBS faculty to measure their knowledge of stroke. Questions in the test identified knowledge of proper response to a suspected stroke; risk factors, symptoms and causes of stroke; as well as the long-term consequences of stroke. Answers to this pre-test were collected through Survey Monkey as were those to the post-test, which was accessible after attendance to the stroke seminar. Results from the paired-samples test (t) show statistically significant improvement in students’ knowledge test scores from pre-test (M = 16.20, SD = 2.20) to post-test (M = 18.00, SD = 2.07), t (72) = -7.02, p < .0001 (two-tailed). The mean difference in pre and post- test scores was -1.8 with a 95% confidence interval ranging from -2.12 to -1.23. The eta squared statistic (0.49) indicated a large effect size.
The main areas of knowledge improvement were in defining a stroke and names given to it. At post-test, about 79% of responders, as compared to 60% at pretest, identified stroke as the interruption of blood flow to the brain or bursting of a blood vessel in it. At pretest, only 27% associated a stroke with the term brain attack, but the percentage increased significantly to 90% at post-test. At post-test 92% of the students were able to correctly identify the risk factors and potential causes of stroke. Additional areas of improvement were in the identification of TIAs, whose warning signs may last as long as 24 hours.
With regard to student perception of the educational value of the information provided, the answers from participants show the seminar: 1) increased their knowledge about stroke(91%); 2) fulfilled their need for stroke information (83%); 3) met their expectations (92%). The information received was regarded as an asset for their chosen careers by 81% of participants. In conclusion, students expressed a high degree of satisfaction with their increased knowledge about stroke and the interdisciplinary approach to stroke treatment that the seminar promoted.
Dong Xie, PhD
Jacquie Rainey, DrPH, CHES
Kim McCullough, PhD