Attitude to Physiology in Undergraduate Nursing, Midwifery, and Paramedicine Students
Studying introductory human physiology is an essential part of the nursing, midwifery, and paramedicine university curriculum. Academic success is important, although attitude also contributes to an undergraduate’s experience. We measured attitude to physiology using a novel semantic differential purpose-designed diagnostic instrument, in 338 midwifery, nursing, and paramedicine undergraduates studying 2 compulsory courses in human physiology. The courses were a first semester introductory course (HAP 1) and a second semester course (HAP 2). Exploratory factor analysis identified 2 components, described as affective attitude (12 items), and cognitive attitude (8 items). Component scores were not different between the nursing, midwifery, and paramedicine programmes (P>0.05, Kruskall-Wallis 1-way ANOVA). However, the affective attitude score (mean (sd)) for HAP 1 was higher than HAP 2 (4.81 (0.61) versus 4.59 (0.57), P<0.01, Mann-Whitney U test), whereas the cognitive attitude score for HAP 1 was lower than HAP 2 (3.65 (0.45) versus 3.80 (0.45), P<0.01, Mann-Whitney U test). The instrument was simple to both administer and complete, and appeared to have a suitable structure to quantify both affective and cognitive components of attitude - it may be a suitable instrument to measure the effects of curriculum changes on student attitude, and monitor students’ attitude throughout a programme.