School of Clinical Sciences

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The School of Clinical Sciences plays an important role in specialist teaching and research conducted by its academic staff and postgraduate students. This places AUT students at the forefront of much of the ground-breaking research undertaken in New Zealand, especially in the fields of Midwifery, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Oral Health, Paramedicine, Physiotherapy, Podiatry.

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    Factors Influencing Imaging Clinical Decision-Making in Low Back Pain Management. A Scoping Review
    (Wiley, 2024-06-11) Hill, Julia; Saywell, Nicola; Niazi, Imran; Luke, Tanner; Adams, Tom
    Background The use of diagnostic imaging in low back pain (LBP) management is often inappropriate, despite recommendations from clinical practice guidelines. There is a limited understanding of factors that influence the imaging clinical decision-making (CDM) process. Aim Explore the literature on factors influencing imaging CDM for people with LBP and consider how these findings could be used to reduce inappropriate use of imaging in LBP management. Design Scoping review. Method This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review extension for scoping reviews. A digital search was conducted in Medline, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Scopus, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for eligible studies published between January 2010–2023. Data reporting influences on imaging CDM were extracted. Data were then analysed through an inductive process to group the influencing factors into categories. Results After screening, 35 studies (5 qualitative and 30 quantitative) were included in the review, which reported factors influencing imaging CDM. Three categories were developed: clinical features (such as red flags, pain, and neurological deficit), non-modifiable factors (such as age, sex, and ethnicity) and modifiable factors (such as beliefs about consequences and clinical practice). Most studies reported non-modifiable factors. Conclusions The results of this scoping review challenge the perception that imaging CDM is purely based on clinical history and objective findings. There is a complex interplay between clinical features, patient and clinician characteristics, beliefs, and environment. These findings should be considered when designing strategies to address inappropriate imaging behaviour.
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    Community-Based Support To Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing in Older Sexually and Gender Diverse People: A Scoping Review
    (Taylor and Francis Group, 2023-10-19) Gasteiger, Chiara; Collens, Paula; Du Preez, Elizabeth
    Objectives This scoping review seeks to identify what community-based support is used by older sexually and gender diverse (SGD) people, that aims to improve mental health/wellbeing. Methods A scoping review was conducted using the Arksey and O’Malley framework. APA PsycInfo, Embase, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Scopus were searched. Key information was extracted and entered into a structured coding sheet before being summarized. Results Seventeen studies were included (41% observational qualitative and 35% observational quantitative). The most commonly used community-based support was lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) social groups. A range of practices were reported in five studies, including in SGD affirming religious congregations and mind-body practices. Two studies reported the use of formal programmes, with one based on a group initiative. Positive outcomes included feeling connected, improved social support and mental health, and coping with illness. Five studies reported null or negative findings, including a lack of acceptance. Most studies used categories for sex and gender inaccurately, and lacked detail when describing community-based support. Conclusion The use of community-based support by older SGD people is underexplored. More interventions designed for and by this community are needed, along with experimental research to draw conclusions on effectiveness to improve mental health or wellbeing.
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    Naloxone Use by Aotearoa New Zealand Emergency Medical Services, 2017–2021
    (Wiley, 2023-11-30) Kumpula, Eeva-Katri; Todd, Verity F; O'Byrne, David; Dicker, Bridget L; Pomerleau, Adam C
    OBJECTIVE: Emergency medical services (EMS) use of naloxone in the prehospital setting is indicated in patients who have significantly impaired breathing or level of consciousness when opioid intoxication is suspected. The present study characterised naloxone use in a nationwide sample of Aotearoa New Zealand road EMS patients to establish a baseline for surveillance of any changes in the future. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of rates of patients with naloxone administrations was conducted using Hato Hone St John (2017-2021) and Wellington Free Ambulance (2018-2021) electronic patient report form datasets. Patient demographics, presenting complaints, naloxone dosing, and initial and last vital sign clinical observations were described. RESULTS: There were 2018 patients with an equal proportion of males and females, and patient median age was 47 years. There were between 8.0 (in 2018) and 9.0 (in 2020) naloxone administrations per 100 000 population-years, or approximately one administration per day for the whole country of 5 million people. Poisoning by unknown agent(s) was the most common presenting complaint (61%). The median dose of naloxone per patient was 0.4 mg; 85% was administered intravenously. The median observed change in Glasgow Coma Scale score was +1, and respiratory rate increased by +2 breaths/min. CONCLUSIONS: A national rate of EMS naloxone patients was established; measured clinical effects of naloxone were modest, suggesting many patients had reasons other than opioid toxicity contributing to their symptoms. Naloxone administration rates provide indirect surveillance information about suspected harmful opioid exposures but need to be interpreted with care.
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    Burnout Among the Podiatry Profession: A Survey of Podiatrists in Aotearoa New Zealand
    (BMC, 2024-06-10) Clarke, Mia; Frecklington, Mike; Stewart, Sarah
    Introduction Burnout and occupational stress have not yet been explored within the Aotearoa New Zealand (AoNZ) podiatry workforce despite research suggesting an increased risk among this population. This study aimed to: (i) determine the prevalence and severity of burnout risk and occupational stress among AoNZ podiatrists; (ii) determine the factors associated with burnout risk and occupational stress among AoNZ podiatrists; and (iii) examine the relationship between burnout risk and occupational stress. Methods A cross-sectional online survey study was undertaken involving registered podiatrists practicing in AoNZ. Personal and professional demographic characteristics were captured. Participants also completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (assessing three domains of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and personal accomplishment) and the Workplace Stress Scale as measures of burnout risk and occupational stress, respectively. Descriptive statistics, multiple regression analyses and correlation analyses were performed to address the research aims. Results Responses from 112 AoNZ podiatrists were included in the analyses. High levels of emotional exhaustion were identified in 43.8% of practitioners and were associated with physical activity status, sector of work, working in isolation and work hours (R2 = 0.304, F (8, N = 110) = 5.519, p < 0.001). High levels of depersonalisation were seen in 13.4% of practitioners and were associated with patient caseload and work hours, (R2 = 0.183, F (4, N = 108) = 5.770, p < 0.001). Low levels of personal accomplishment were observed in 8.9% of practitioners and associated with ethnicity, physical activity status and patient caseload, (R2 = 0.152, F (5, N = 106) = 3.577, p < 0.005). A total of 27.7% of practitioners exhibited an overall moderate to high risk of developing burnout. Over a fifth of practitioners exhibited stress at severe or dangerous levels. Stress levels were significantly associated with physical activity status, sector of work and management responsibility, (R2 = 0.282, F (5, N = 47) = 3.218, p = 0.15). A strong positive relationship was found between emotional exhaustion and stress (rho = 0.59, p < 0.001). Conclusions The findings reflect a moderate to severe risk of developing burnout within the workforce, with high workloads and collegial isolation constituting the primary modifiable factors driving burnout development. To maintain retention and well-being within the workforce, mitigation strategies must be implemented to address this issue.
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