Objective

To explore the self-perceived preparedness and clinical proficiency in headache diagnosis and management of Australian chiropractic students in senior years of study.

Methods

Australian chiropractic students in the 4th (n = 134) and 5th year (n = 122) of 2 chiropractic university programs were invited to participate in an online cross-sectional survey. Descriptive analyses were conducted for all variables. Post hoc analyses were performed using simple linear regression to evaluate the relationship between self-perceived preparedness and correctness of headache diagnosis and management scores.

Results

Australian chiropractic students in senior years demonstrated moderate overall levels of self-perceived preparedness and proficiency in their ability to diagnose and manage headache disorders. Final-year students had a slightly higher self-perceived preparedness and proficiency in headache diagnosis and management compared to those students in the 4th year of study. There was no relationship between self-perceived preparedness and correctness of headache diagnosis and management for either 4th- or 5th-year chiropractic students.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that there may be gaps in graduate chiropractic student confidence and proficiency in headache diagnosis and management. These findings call for further research to explore graduate chiropractic student preparedness and proficiency in the diagnosis and management of headache disorders.

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Author notes

Craig Moore is a sessional lecturer in the Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University and a member of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (Balaclava Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; craig.moore@mq.edu.au). Stephney Whillier is a lecturer, director of teaching, and postgraduate advisor in the Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University (Balaclava Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; Stephney.whillier@mq.edu.au). Martha Funabashi is a clinical research scientist at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, an adjunct professor in the Department of Chiropractic, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and a member of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (6100 Leslie Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M2H 3J1; MFunabashi@cmcc.ca). Diana De Carvalho is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland (300 Prince Phillip Drive, St John's, NL, Canada, A1B 3V6; Diana.DeCarvalho@med.mun.ca). Jon Adams is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health, ARC Professorial Future Fellow, and Director of the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology, Faculty of Health (Level 8, Building 10, 235-253 Jones Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia; Jon.Adams@uts.edu.au). Matthew Fernandez is a lecturer in the Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, and a member of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (Balaclava Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; matthew.fernandez@mq.edu.au). Rosemary Giuriato is the head of the Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University (Balaclava Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; rosemary.giuriato@mq.edu.au). Michael Swain is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, and a member of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (Balaclava Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia; michael.swain@mq.edu.au).

Concept development: CM, SW, MS. Design: CM, SW, MS. Data collection: CM, SW. Data analysis/interpretation: MS, CM. Literature search: CM. Writing: CM, SW, MS, MF, DDeC, JA, MF, RG.