BACKGROUND: In health care, the model of patient-centered care is growing; and improved outcomes have been linked to patient-centeredness. Practicing audiologists have been found to strongly prefer a patient-centered approach as years in practice increase. It is unknown whether patient-centeredness begins during education and training.
PURPOSE: The current study was aimed at understanding the preference to patient-centeredness in undergraduate audiology students in Portugal.
RESEARCH DESIGN: The study used a cross-sectional survey design.
STUDY SAMPLE: One hundred and thirty-seven undergraduate audiology students completed patient-practitioner orientation scale (PPOS) and provided some demographic details.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and one-sample t tests.
RESULTS: A significant difference was found for sharing subscale (p ≤ 0.001), caring subscale (p = 0.033), and the PPOS full scale (p ≤ 0.001) among different undergraduate groups. Further, post hoc tests showed that the difference between year 1 and with years 2, 3, and 4 were significant for sharing subscale and PPOS full scale, but not for caring subscale. No significant differences were observed among the years 2, 3, and 4 for sharing subscale, caring subscale, and for PPOS full scale. When compared audiologists’ preferences from a previous study on audiologists with students’ preferences in the current study, significant difference for both subscales and full scale was found between year 1 students and audiologists (p ≤ 0.001), with higher preference to patient-centeredness was reported by qualified audiologists. Also, significant difference was found between audiologists and overall undergraduate group for caring subscale (p = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The current study suggests that audiology education influences preference to patient-centeredness. Within a year of undergraduate coursework, students tend to develop high preference to patient-centeredness, which stays stable during four years of undergraduate studies. These results provide useful insights to audiology education and training, particularly in the context of audiological rehabilitation.