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Fostering critical thinking skills: a strategy for enhancing evidence based wellness care

DOI: 10.1186/1746-1340-13-19

Keywords: Chiropractic, critical thinking skills, wellness

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This paper describes a unit which prepares chiropractic students for the role of "wellness coaches". Emphasis is placed on providing students with exercises in critical thinking in an effort to prepare them for the challenge of interfacing with an increasingly evidence based health care system.This case study describes how health may be promoted and disease prevented through development of personalized wellness programs. As critical thinking is essential to the provision of evidence based wellness care, diverse learning opportunities for developing and refining critical thinking skills have been created. Three of the learning opportunities are an intrinsic component of the subject and, taken together, contributed over 50% of the final grade of the unit. They include a literature review, developing a client wellness contract and peer evaluation. In addition to these 3 compulsory exercises, students were also given an opportunity to develop their critical appraisal skills by undertaking voluntary self- and unit evaluation. Several opportunities for informal self-appraisal were offered in a structured self-study guide, while unit appraisal was undertaken by means of a questionnaire and group discussion at which the Head of School was present.Formal assessment showed all students capable of preparing a wellness program consistent with current thinking in contemporary health care. The small group of students who appraised the unit seemed to value the diversity of learning experiences provided. Opportunities for voluntary unit and self-appraisal were used to varying degrees.Unit evaluation provided useful feedback that led to substantial changes in unit structure.Students have demonstrated themselves capable of applying critical thinking in construction of evidence based wellness programs. With respect to unit design, selective use of learning opportunities highlighted the desirability of using obligatory learning opportunities to ensure exposure to core constructs while


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