Occupational Therapy graduates of 2009; knowledge and attitudes relating to their role in the area of alcohol misuse.
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Purpose: Within Scotland, health policy changes are being considered to address the misuse of alcohol. Concurrently, a shifting of professional roles within the National Health Service is under way. The purpose of the study was to investigate personal knowledge and attitudes relating to alcohol use/misuse amongst all final year Scottish occupational therapy students. Procedure: A self-completed questionnaire was developed for delivery in spring 2009 within scheduled lectures to students (n = 161) at all three Scottish universities providing occupational therapy education. Findings: Of those in class, 93% (n = 109) provided completed questionnaires. There was evidence of gaps in knowledge around the understanding and application of United Kingdom responsible drinking guidelines; however, students reported confidence in their professional and personal ability to act effectively in this area of clinical practice. There was a distinct lack of congruence with key proposals put forward by the Scottish Government to address alcohol misuse. Conclusion: Identified knowledge gaps have implications for the alcohol teaching content of the curriculum in Scotland. Additionally, while investigation of student attitudes revealed a self-belief in personal and professional skills, the findings nevertheless stress a need to ensure that the potential value of occupational therapists’ contribution is more effectively communicated to their health professional colleague.