Enhancing self-efficacy and patient care with cardiovascular nutrition education

Am J Prev Med. 2002 Nov;23(4):296-302. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00518-4.


Background: Provision of medical education that develops nutrition knowledge and self-efficacy is critical if physicians are to incorporate nutrition in preventive care. We studied the impact of a cardiovascular nutrition module on the knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy of fourth-year medical students and the relationship of these attributes to patient care practices.

Methods: Based on national practice guidelines and learner needs, an educational intervention consisting of two web-based cases, pocket reference cards, and classroom discussion was developed and implemented. Knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy were measured at the beginning and end of the 4-week ambulatory care rotation for 40 control and 156 experimental students. Performance in patient care was approximated using a self-report; chart audits were performed for a subset of students.

Conclusions: Knowledge scores of experimental students increased significantly from a mean of 10.3 to 14.4 (p<0.001), while the change for control students from 9.2 to 9.8 was not significant (p=0.20). The increase in self-efficacy scores from 26.2 to 35.7 in the experimental group (p<0.001) was twice that of the increase from 25.8 to 29.9 in the control group (p=0.001). Small but significant increases in attitude scores were similar for both groups. Limited data on student performance revealed that students with greater cardiovascular nutrition self-efficacy were more likely to address nutrition with cardiovascular patients.

Conclusions: Incorporation of cardiovascular nutrition concepts in an ambulatory care rotation including use of computer-based cases improved student knowledge and self-efficacy, which may translate to increased frequency of future physicians addressing nutrition with patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Self Efficacy*