Original Research

New graduates’ perceptions of preparedness to provide speech-language therapy services in general and dysphagia services in particular

Shajila Singh, Alannah Booth, Fadziso Choto, Jessica Gotlieb, Rebecca Robertson, Gabriella Morris, Nicola Stockley, Katya Mauff
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 62, No 1 | a110 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v62i1.110 | © 2015 Shajila Singh, Alannah Booth, Fadziso Choto, Jessica Gotlieb, Rebecca Robertson, Gabriella Morris, Nicola Stockley, Katya Mauff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2014 | Published: 18 June 2015

About the author(s)

Shajila Singh, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Alannah Booth, Speech and Language Therapist, Julie A Cardona and Associates, South Africa
Fadziso Choto, Speech-Language Therapist, Tintswalo Hospital, Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Jessica Gotlieb, Speech-Language Therapist, Sandton Therapy Suites, South Africa
Rebecca Robertson, Speech-Language Therapist, Olivia Thomet and Associates, South Africa
Gabriella Morris, Speech-Language Therapist, Themba Hospital, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Nicola Stockley, Speech-Language Therapist, Luanet Smit practice,, South Africa
Katya Mauff, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Upon graduation, newly qualified speech-language therapists are expected to provide services independently. This study describes new graduates’ perceptions of their preparedness to provide services across the scope of the profession and explores associations between perceptions of dysphagia theory and clinical learning curricula with preparedness for adult and paediatric dysphagia service delivery.

Methods: New graduates of six South African universities were recruited to participate in a survey by completing an electronic questionnaire exploring their perceptions of the dysphagia curricula and their preparedness to practise across the scope of the profession of speechlanguage therapy.

Results: Eighty graduates participated in the study yielding a response rate of 63.49%. Participants perceived themselves to be well prepared in some areas (e.g. child language: 100%; articulation and phonology: 97.26%), but less prepared in other areas (e.g. adult dysphagia: 50.70%; paediatric dysarthria: 46.58%; paediatric dysphagia: 38.36%) and most unprepared to provide services requiring sign language (23.61%) and African languages (20.55%). There was a significant relationship between perceptions of adequate theory and clinical learning opportunities with assessment and management of dysphagia and perceptions of preparedness to provide dysphagia services.

Conclusion: There is a need for review of existing curricula and consideration of developing a standard speech-language therapy curriculum across universities, particularly in service provision to a multilingual population, and in both the theory and clinical learning of the assessment and management of adult and paediatric dysphagia, to better equip graduates for practice.


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