The impact of a workshop on motivation to pursue a career in child and adolescent mental health

Lucassen, Mathijs F. G.; Robinson, Elizabeth and Merry, Sally N. (2007). The impact of a workshop on motivation to pursue a career in child and adolescent mental health. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41(7) pp. 618–624.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00048670701400024

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine whether a 3 h workshop on child and adolescent mental health positively influenced nursing, occupational therapy and social work students’ career intentions.

Method: Students participating in the study were asked to complete a questionnaire before and after attending the workshop and again at follow up. Post-workshop students and their educators were also asked to complete a questionnaire on the perceived quality of teaching. Career intentions scores were analysed using generalized mixed linear models. The quality of teaching data was analysed using Kruskal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney U-tests.

Results: The workshops were attended by 373 students and had an immediate positive impact on students’ career intentions in relation to child and adolescent mental health. A repeated measures analysis showed an overall time effect (F2,546=16.29, p <0.0001). A multiple comparison test of this difference showed a highly significant positive increase in career intentions between pre-workshop and post-workshop ratings (p <0.0001), and the magnitude of this difference dropped between post-workshop assessment and follow up (p =0.004). However, there was no significant change between pre-workshop and follow-up ratings (p =0.43). The study also highlighted that a number of students consistently rated working in child and adolescent mental health very favourably.

Conclusions: The workshop did have a positive influence on students’ career intentions, but this change was not enduring. However, a number of students did indicate an interest in working in the area; and enhancing this interest while addressing the lack of training in this area would be worthwhile.

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