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How Many Repetitions of Child Care Skills Are Required for Health Worker Students to Achieve Proficiency? Learning Curve Patterns in Child Care Skills Acquisition

Zahra Emami Moghadam, Amir Emami Zeydi, Seyed Reza Mazlom, Fatemeh Sardar Abadi, Parastoo Majidi Pour, Malihe Davoudi, Elahe Banafsheh.

Introduction: The vulnerability of children under 5 years old requires paying more attention to the health of this group. In the Iranian health care system, health workers are the first line of human resources for health care in rural areas. Because most health workers begin working in conditions with minimal facilities, their clinical qualifications are crucial. The aim of this study was to determine the number of repetitions of child care skills, required for health worker students to achieve proficiency based on the learning curve. Methods: A time series research design was used. Participants in this study were first year health worker students enrolled in three health schools in 2011. Data were collected using a questionnaire consisting of demographic information and a checklist evaluating the health worker students’ clinical skills proficiency for child care. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL) using descriptive and inferential statistics including Kruskal-Wallis and Pearson correlation coefficient tests. Results: Learning curve patterns in child care skills acquisition showed that for less than 20 and between 20 to 29 times, the level of skill acquisition had an upward slope. Between 30- 39 the learning curve was descending, however the slope became ascending once more and then it leveled off (with change of less than 5%). Conclusion: It seems that 40 repetitions of child care skills are sufficient for health worker students to achieve proficiency. This suggests that time, resources and additional costs for training health worker students’ trainees can be saved by this level of repetition.

Key words: Learning Curve, Health Worker, Child Care, Clinical Skills.

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