Clinicians and dyslexia - a computer-based assessment of one of the key cognitive skills involved in drug administration

MILWARD, Lynne J, BRYAN, Karen, EVERATT, John and COLLINS, Rachel (2005). Clinicians and dyslexia - a computer-based assessment of one of the key cognitive skills involved in drug administration. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 42 (3), 341-353.

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Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.07.001


Aims: This research investigates the relationship between dyslexia traits and nurse performance on a laboratory task designed to assess one of the key cognitive skills involved in drug administration. The potential moderating role of perceived performance control was also assessed, based on previous work demonstrating the importance of self-belief as a facilitator of vocational success.

Background: Dyslexia within the health care professions has been the subject of wide and emotionally charged debate but has not yet been scientifically examined. Those who fear clinicians with dyslexia do so because of a presumed or potential risk to patient health and safety posed by dyslexia-induced performance error (e.g. problems with drug administration).

Design, sample and methods: 46 nurses (40 student nurses and 6 qualified nurses) volunteered to complete a battery of computerised tasks assessing for dyslexia traits (using four accuracy tasks measuring different types of literacy skill), a paired association task designed to measure one of the key cognitive skills involved in drug administration) and a self-report questionnaire (Learning Styles Questionnaire, self-reported reading difficulty and a history of educational support, perceived control over performance). The performance criterion measure was constructed after detailed job analysis (involving analysis of official documentation, in-depth interviews and field observation across a variety of clinical settings) and involved matching drug names to patient names and vice versa.

Results: The results showed that the dyslexia indicators (objective and self-report) were significantly correlated with performance on the paired association task. Contrary to expectation however, the perceived control variable was not associated with performance.

Conclusion: The findings provide tentative support for the idea that some tasks might be problematic for the clinician with dyslexia. Taken in isolation however, it would be inappropriate to conclude that this will necessarily translate into true performance errors without taking into consideration the entire performance context. Suggestions are made for replicating and extending the study to provide a more solid and constructive basis for intervention (e.g. support measures, a built-in checking process).

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.07.001
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2013 13:18
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 13:18

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