Current and future health care professionals attitudes toward and knowledge of statistics: How confidence influences learning

Heibatollah Baghi, Melanie L. Kornides


Background: Health care professionals require some understanding of statistics to successfully implement evidence based practice. Developing competency in statistical reasoning is necessary for students training in health care administration, research, and clinical care. Recently, the interest in healthcare professional’s attitudes toward statistics has increased substantially due to evidence that these attitudes can hinder professionalism developing an understanding of statistical concepts.

Methods: In this study, we analyzed pre- and post-instruction attitudes towards and knowledge of statistics obtained from health science graduate students, including nurses and nurse practitioners, enrolled in an introductory graduate course in statistics (n = 165).

Results and Conclusions: Results show that the students already held generally positive attitudes toward statistics at the beginning of course. However, these attitudes—along with the students’ statistical proficiency—improved after 10 weeks of instruction. The results have implications for curriculum design and delivery methods as well as for health professionals’ effective use of statistics in critically evaluating and utilizing research in their practices.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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