Purpose: One important objective of chiropractic education is to foster student professional confidence and competence in patient communication and clinical skills. Therefore, the aim of this article is to review the extant literature on this topic, stressing the significance of building students' confidence for effective practice and the need for more research in this area.
Methods: The authors reviewed MEDLINE and ERIC from 1980 through 2008 using several key words pertinent to confidence and health care. Three distinct, but interrelated, bodies of literature were assessed, including professional confidence in health care research, the nature and development of confidence in educational psychology research, and fostering professional confidence in chiropractic education.
Results: It was apparent through the review that chiropractic education has developed educational methods and opportunities that may help develop and build student confidence in patient communication and clinical skills. However, there has not been sufficient research to provide empirical evidence of the impact.
Conclusion: Fostering chiropractic students' development of confidence in what they say and do is of paramount importance not only to them as new practitioners but more importantly to the patient. There is no doubt that a better understanding of how confidence can be developed and consolidated during tertiary study should be a major goal of chiropractic education.
Keywords: chiropractic; education; self-efficacy; students; trust.