New graduates’ perceptions of preparedness to provide speech-language therapy services in general and dysphagia services in particular

  • Singh S
  • Booth A
  • Choto F
 et al. 
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Abstract

Background: Upon graduation, newly qualified speech-language therapists are expected to provide services independently. This study describes new graduates’ perceptions of their preparedness to provide services across the scope of the profession and explores associations between perceptions of dysphagia theory and clinical learning curricula with preparedness for adult and paediatric dysphagia service delivery.Methods: New graduates of six South African universities were recruited to participate in a survey by completing an electronic questionnaire exploring their perceptions of the dysphagia curricula and their preparedness to practise across the scope of the profession of speechlanguage therapy. Results: Eighty graduates participated in the study yielding a response rate of 63.49%. Participants perceived themselves to be well prepared in some areas (e.g. child language: 100%; articulation and phonology: 97.26%), but less prepared in other areas (e.g. adult dysphagia: 50.70%; paediatric dysarthria: 46.58%; paediatric dysphagia: 38.36%) and most unprepared to provide services requiring sign language (23.61%) and African languages (20.55%). There was a significant relationship between perceptions of adequate theory and clinical learning opportunities with assessment and management of dysphagia and perceptions of preparedness to provide dysphagia services. Conclusion: There is a need for review of existing curricula and consideration of developing a standard speech-language therapy curriculum across universities, particularly in service provision to a multilingual population, and in both the theory and clinical learning of the assessment and management of adult and paediatric dysphagia, to better equip graduates for practice.

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Authors

  • Shajila Singh

  • Alannah Booth

  • Fadziso Choto

  • Jessica Gotlieb

  • Rebecca Robertson

  • Gabriella Morris

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