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Evaluation of the mandatory child abuse course for physicians: do we need to repeat it?

Evaluation of the mandatory child abuse course for physicians: do we need to repeat it?

Public Health 119(7): 626-631

ISSN/ISBN: 0033-3506

PMID: 15925678

DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2004.10.010

Child abuse is one of the most common disorders affecting children of all ages. The objective of this study was to measure and assess the effectiveness of the mandated New York State child abuse and maltreatment course, and to identify and define the need for a refresher course. This study was conducted in two parts. Part 1 consisted of a web-based survey among the paediatric members of 'Physicians Online' in New York State, and Part 2 consisted of an anonymous questionnaire survey using conventional US mail among the registered physicians in New York State who took the mandatory 'Recognition of Child Abuse and Maltreatment Course' between January 1988 and December 1998. The questionnaire included demographic information, test questions, and opinions of the physicians regarding the need for a refresher course. The web survey yielded 239/664 (36%) responses in 1 week. Approximately 45% of the respondents agreed that participation in the course produced a significant difference in their knowledge base and recommended that the course should be repeated every 5 years. The response rate for the mail survey was 56% (424/756). Among the respondents, 88% agreed that participation in the course produced an increased source of knowledge and practice (mean score of 3.2 +/- 1.2 using a scale of 1-5; where 1 = disagree and 5 = agree). The time since the course was taken (1-5 years vs >5 years ago) did not significantly influence their responses. Although 84% of the respondents answered the test questions correctly, significant differences were noted across practice specialty (P<0.05). In response to the question regarding the necessity for a refresher course, the mean score was 2.55 +/- 1.6 using a linear scale of 0-5 (where 0 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree). These data suggest that practice specialty, not the time since the course was taken, made a significant difference in the knowledge of recognition and reporting of child abuse.

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Accession: 004153337

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