Spanish Speech Language Pathology Student Perspectives on Evidence Based Practice and Clinical Self-Efficacy for Motor Speech Disorders

Sara Miranda* & Gemma Moya-Galé, CCC-SLP, PhD

Evidence based practice (EBP), the concept of implementing scientific evidence to occupational practice and treatment, is relatively novel in the field of Speech Language Pathology. This is in part due to clinicians not feeling confident or knowledgeable enough to enforce EBP treatments. However, the use of EBP in treatment has been shown to have a positive impact on patient outcomes and clinician empowerment (Amit-Aharon et. al, 2020). The rapid emergence of EBP in the field has brought with it many new treatments to support therapy of speech disorders such as motor speech disorders. Globally, there exists very little research assessing the use of EBP for the treatment of motor speech disorders. In this study, we choose to target universities in Spain and assess the students’ perspectives on their knowledge of EBP as well as get a measure of their self confidence implementing EBP treatments for the motor speech disorder population. Participants (N=24) were Speech Language Pathology students from Spanish Universities in their third and fourth year. The task for this experiment was to complete a 7-10 minute survey with questions targeting student’s perspectives on EBP, their perceived levels of self-efficacy as well as questions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and any possible effects that had on their education. Preliminary scans of the data show that there seems to be knowledge of EBP in treating motor speech disorders; however, there are some inconsistencies in responses. Additionally there were mixed responses in the self-efficacy questionnaire with some students having a higher confidence in their clinical abilities because of their previous clinic experience while others ranking lower confidence because they did not have experience. This finding suggests that experiences in clinics strongly impact the self confidence of student clinicians, though more research targeting those specific variables would need to be conducted to draw a firm conclusion. The results of this study could potentially enhance SLP programs around the world. As the use of EBP becomes more important in the field, the perspectives of students completing the program is valuable information when it comes time to assess the curricula and perhaps in the future predictors of success for student clinicians based on their knowledge of EBP and their confidence of using it.