Healthcare Assistant Training for Research Projects in Family Medicine

german translation / full article

Karola Mergenthal, Sylvia Schulz-Rothe, Andrea Siebenhofer, Ferdinand M. Gerlach, Tanja Rossmanith, Juliana J. Petersen

Keywords: family practice health care studies in family medicine healthcare assistants qualification rheumatoid arthritis

BackgroundWhen initiating new studies, research institutions are often faced with the question how training can be organized effectively and without wasting resources. We investigated whether training healthcare assistants (HCAs) leads to knowledge gains, and whether differences exist between participation in classroom-based training and self-study of training materials.MethodsAs part of a research study in family medicine, HCAs either participated in on-site classroom-based training, or were required to study a manual that dealt with the same topics. Six questions were used to assess the level of knowledge (sum score 0–30 points, pts), the results compared using non-parametric tests.Results73 HCAs participated in classroom-based training. In the knowledge test, their average (avg.) was 19.96 pts before the training and 25.62 pts (p < 0.001) afterwards. Of the 106 HCAs in the self-study group, 27 % (n = 29) did not read the manual (avg. 19.83 pts). Depending on the intensity of self-study, the avg. result among the remaining HCAs ranged from 21.60 to 25.40 pts. HCAs that completed classroom-based training (n = 73) were significantly more knowledgeable than those that studied the manual on their own (n = 77), (p < 0.001).ConclusionsA comparison showed that participation in classroom-based training resulted in significantly greater knowledge. A good quarter of participants in the self-study group were not reached at all. To identify further time-effective options, the use of education videos and webinars to train practice teams should be investigated.KeywordsHealthcare assistants; health care studies in family medicine; qualification; family practice; rheumatoid arthritis

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