We are very fortunate to be providing research experience to two highly engaged and able medical students as part of their Advanced Studies research program at Flinders University. Ms Isabelle Gill, Mr Kevin Hu and our chronic condition management Education and Training academic staff (Dr Candice Oster, Prof Sharon Lawn and Ms Andrea Morello) have been exploring how health professionals learn Motivational Interviewing (MI), in order to understand how they can improve their MI skills and practice when supporting their patients with health behaviour change.
MI is a core skill for any health professionals, so it is important that they are delivering MI confidently, competently and with fidelity. Many instruments have been created to evaluate the use of MI in training and in practice. However, since MI can be somewhat difficult to learn and apply in practice, it is important to have effective and validated instruments to accurately measure MI skill and provide useful feedback to learners.
Isabelle’s study involves identifying instruments used to measure competency in MI, evaluating the extent to which they have been psychometrically validated, and determining their suitability for training purposes. The outcome of her study will provide very useful and practical information to trainers and supervisors on how to best support health professionals wanting to improve the delivery of MI to patients with comorbid chronic conditions and lifestyle risk factors.
Kevin’s study involves analysing how students understand, use and reflect on measuring their competence in MI. Understanding how students think about behaviour change, about MI, and about learning how to implement MI with their patients will also provide us with important insights into how we teach MI to health professionals.