ASSESSMENT OF THE NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY’S FIRST YEAR STUDENTS SCREENING PROGRAM: A PILOT PROGRAM

Stacy Lyons

Abstract

PURPOSE. The screening pilot program was designed to determine if early clinical experience affects the ability of students to learn optometric skills or influences their attitudes toward performing procedures and analyzing findings. METHOD. Sixteen students were taught specific optometric procedures via vision screening. Eight of these students participated in vision screenings in lieu of the procedures laboratory program, while the eight other students participated in the vision screenings in addition to the laboratory program. Students were randomly assigned to groups. Sixteen controls were chosen randomly from the remainder of the class. Participants in screenings were compared to controls in written theory tests, practical proficiency scores, and in time needed to complete the proficiency. In addition, attitudes were evaluated by a questionnaire given during the first week of school to all students and after screenings to those in the control and screening group; changes in attitudes were assessed.

RESULTS. The group that was assigned to both screenings and labs performed 5.1% and 5.9% lower on the two written tests and averaged 1 minute longer to complete the proficiency exam than controls. On the questionnaire given at the end of the program all groups reported a decline in their level of comfort in performing and analyzing visual acuities and ocular motilities. However controls showed a larger decline than either screening groups in 7 of 10 questions. The power analysis in this pilot project showed the number of subjects was too small to support statistically significant differences between groups.

CONCLUSIONS. The findings in this small pilot study do not demonstrate that experience with screening improves student performance in written or proficiency examinations or in their comfort with performing and analyzing a limited group of tests. In spite of the lack of evidence that early clinical experience affects skills and attitudes of first year students, it is clear that studies on evidence based optometric education need expansion.

Details

Year: 2001

Program Number: Poster 50

Author Affiliation: The New England College of Optometry

Co-Authors: Richard Jamara, Nancy Carlson, Daniel Kurtz, Barbara McGinley, Bruce Moore

Co-Author Affiliation: The New England College of Optometry, The New England College of Optometry, The New England College of Optometry, The New England College of Optometry, The New England College of Optometry

Room: Exhibit Hall C