A physical activity learning module improves medical students’ skills and confidence for advising patients about physical activity

This research article was published on 1st March 2018 in the Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 7(1), 31-38

Authors Sandra Mandic, Hamish Wilson, Monika Clark-Grill, Diana O’Neill

This study evaluated the effects of a physical activity (PA) learning module on knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward PA counselling in third-year medical students studying at the University of Otago, Dunedin. 216 students participated in a PA learning module that included tutorials, lectures, and experiential learning through providing health checks to adults.

At baseline and four months after the intervention, students completed a paper questionnaire about their awareness of current PA guidelines, benefits of, and attitudes toward PA advising, perceived competence/importance of PA advising skills, and personal PA habits.

After the intervention, students reported a greater awareness of the PA guidelines, the national PA initiative, the importance of PA counselling in general practice, and their confidence, and perceived competence in providing PA advice compared to baseline.

However, even after the training, students on average perceived themselves to be only moderately competent in providing PA advice. The authors conclude that clinical training for medical students should be designed to improve students’ competence and skills in PA counselling.