Background: The inclusion of stroke education modules early in medical school curricula has resulted in improved stroke knowledge in graduate physicians. The success of these programs suggests that allied health professions programs should also consider strategies to improve stroke knowledge in students preparing for allied health careers that also require knowledge of stroke risk factors and early warning signs. Currently, little is known about stroke knowledge in students enrolled in allied health professions programs. Methods: 208 first- and second-year students enrolled in allied health programs completed a survey of stroke risk factors and early warning signs of stroke. Results:Risk factor knowledge - 99% identified smoking as a risk factor; 67% identified diabetes; 93% identified high cholesterol; 89% identified age; and 92% identified physical inactivity. Less than 50% of the students identified all 5 risk factors. There were no differences between first- and second-year students in risk factor knowledge. Early warning signs and first response knowledge - 89% recognized sudden confusion or trouble speaking; 94% recognized sudden facial, arm, or leg weakness; 65% recognized sudden vision loss; 82% recognized sudden trouble walking; and 73% recognized sudden headache as early warning signs of stroke. Eighty-one percent recognized calling 9-1-1 as the appropriate first action. However, only 25% recognized all five early warning signs and only 20% recognized all five early warning signs and would call 9-1-1 as the first action. There were differences between first- and second-year students in recognizing 3 of 5 early warning signs and appropriate first action to call 9-1-1. Conclusions: Most students recognized individual stroke risk factors and early warning signs but few recognized multiple risk factors and early warning signs of stroke.
The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.