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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Mar;90(3):197-206. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e318206398a.

A wheelchair workshop for medical students improves knowledge and skills: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



To test the hypothesis that a multicomponent workshop about wheelchairs, tailored for undergraduate medical students, is effective in improving medical students' wheelchair-related knowledge, skills, and attitudes.


A randomized controlled trial of 24 first- and second-year medical students randomly allocated into intervention and control groups was undertaken. The intervention group received a 4-hr workshop that included didactic, practical, community, and reflective elements. The educational objectives were validated by a focus group. The main outcome measures were a written knowledge test, a practical examination, the Scale of Attitudes Toward Disabled Persons, and students' perceptions.


The baseline characteristics of the groups were comparable. After the workshop, the mean scores on the written knowledge test and practical examination for the intervention group were higher than for the control group by 23.9% (95% confidence interval, 17.6%-30.3%; P < 0.0001) and 34.4% (95% confidence interval, 26.3%-42.5%; P < 0.0001), respectively. The difference (-1.6%) for the Scale of Attitudes Toward Disabled Persons scores was not significant (P = 0.93), but there may have been a ceiling effect (both groups' mean scores were >87%). The perceptions of the students who took the workshop were highly positive.


A wheelchair workshop designed for medical students was practical, well received by students, and effective at improving students' knowledge and skills. Although students' attitudes were not measurably affected by the intervention, there was qualitative evidence of a positive effect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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