Educating undergraduate occupational therapy and physiotherapy students in Motivational Interviewing: the student perspective.  

Meriel Norris, Gail Eva, Jennifer Fortune, Tai Frater, Jeff Breckon

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Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidenced based talking therapy designed to affect client Health Behaviour Change. Previous research indicates that Allied Health Professionals (AHP) can effectively use the approach and training at pre-registration level has been piloted. However, student experiences of training is underexplored.

To explore Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy students’ experiences of training in and implementation of Motivational Interviewing.

Four focus groups including 24 undergraduates (14 OT and 10 PT) were conducted at the completion of the training and a subsequent clinical placement. Transcribed texts were analysed thematically. Data were triangulated with student written post-it notes and open questions in a post training questionnaire.

Two overarching themes were developed from the data. Learning different ways to interact and the challenge of transformation illuminates specific aspects of the training which enabled learning as well as areas of contention. Using the spirit of MI, but not every contact counts highlights the facilitators and challenges of implementation on placements.

Motivational interviewing is a useful addition to training neophyte health students. Key skills were adopted and in some cases transferred into practice. The process of learning indicates areas of potential improvement to enhance relevance of practice scenarios. The transfer to practice is more complex illustrating a need to negotiate professional and institutional expectations which should be considered in training.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number117
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2019


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