Eric A. Woo is an Assistant Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Midwestern University's College of Optometry.
Download the poster (.pdf), which was originally shared at American Academy of Optometry annual meeting, 2016.
Understanding of Optometric Scope of Practice by First Year Osteopathic Medicine, Dental, and Pharmacy Students
Eric A. Woo, Dena S. Weitzman, Naveen K. Yadav, Melissa A. Suckow
Purpose: Healthcare is moving toward an increase in interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP) as a goal of enhancing quality of care. Optometry should not be exempt. To our knowledge, there are no studies examining the understanding of optometric scope of practice by health professional students (HPS). The purpose of this study was to determine what various HPS currently understand about the scope of practice of optometry and their perceived confidence in that knowledge.
Methods: 443 students aged 20 to 45 (M=24.26, SD ± 3.35) years completed an optional paper survey. The survey was distributed in a single course given to first year osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, and pharmacy students in the winter quarter of 2015 at Midwestern University at Downers Grove, Illinois. Without external aids, HPS were given 5 minutes to answer questions including: “How well do you feel you have been informed of the different eye care providers and their scope of practice?” A 7-point Likert-type scale ranging from Very Weak to Very Strong was used. HPS also selected which functions a licensed optometrist within the United States could perform out of a list of 14 eye care related functions (10 were correct).
Results: First, the largest majority rated themselves ‘Moderately Weak’ (33.86%) and there was no statistically significant difference between programs (p>0.05). Second, responses to the 14 functions were scored. The average score amongst all HPS was 70.07%. A t-test revealed no significant (p > 0.05) difference between stronger versus weaker perceived levels of information.
Conclusion: HPS who believe they are more informed about eye care are scoring no higher than those that do not. Interestingly, amongst all HPS, confidence was low. These results may indicate there are opportunities to increase the confidence and knowledge of HPS on the scope of practice of optometry. This is beneficial in ensuring that with the growth of ICP, optometry will be included.