To document knowledge and perceptions relating to the professional role in the -area of alcohol misuse within a sample of first year (n = 278) and final year (n = 527) medical, nursing and allied health professional (NAHP) students in Scotland.
A cross sectional survey design involving self-completed questionnaires administered in autumn 2008 (first year students) and spring 2009 (final year students) through course websites and lectures.
Gaps in the knowledge relating to current UK health guidelines were identified but more so among NAHP students than medical students. Exploration of the perceived role in this area of practice identified three broad groups of students: those clear about their role (medical and nursing students), those advocating a role but not identified by fellow students (occupational therapy and pharmacy) and those uncertain of their role (radiographers, speech and language therapists/audiologists and physiotherapy).
Higher education institutions should address the gaps in the knowledge around guidance for alcohol consumption. The effectiveness of brief interventions may depend on it. Additionally, through inter-professional teaching and in collaboration with the relevant professional bodies, more could be done to promote the contribution of practitioners other than those traditionally linked (i.e. medical and nursing) to this important clinical role.
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