Journal Article

Factors that influence development of speech pathology skills required for videofluoroscopic swallowing studies


Background. Perceptual, cognitive and previous clinical experience may influence a novice Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study (VFSS) analyst's trajectory towards competency. Understanding these factors may allow trainees to be better prepared for VFSS training and may allow training to be developed to accommodate differences between trainees. Aims. This study explored a range of factors previously suggested in the literature as influencing the development of novice analysts’ VFSS skills. We hypothesised that knowledge of swallow anatomy and physiology, visual perceptual skills, self-efficacy and interest, and prior clinical exposure would all influence VFSS novice analysts’ skill development. Methods & Procedures. Participants were undergraduate speech pathology students recruited from an Australian university, who had completed the required theoretical units in dysphagia. Data assessing the factors of interest were collected—the participants identified anatomical structures on a still radiographic image, completed a physiology questionnaire, completed subsections of the Developmental Test of Visual Processing—Adults, self-reported the number of dysphagia cases they managed on placement, and self-rated their confidence and interest. Data for 64 participants relating to the factors of interest were compared with their ability to accurately identify swallowing impairments following 15 h of VFSS analytical training, using correlation and regression analysis. Outcomes & Results. Success in VFSS analytical training was best predicted by clinical exposure to dysphagia cases and the ability to identify anatomical landmarks on still radiographic images. Conclusions & Implications. Novice analysts vary in the acquisition of beginner-level VFSS analytical skill. Our findings suggest that speech pathologists who are new to VFSS may benefit from clinical exposure to dysphagia cases, sound foundational knowledge of anatomy relevant to swallowing and the ability to see the anatomical landmarks on still radiographic images. Further research is required to equip VFSS trainers and trainees for training, to understand differences between learners during skill development.

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Edwards, Ann
Holm, Alison
Carding, Paul
Steele, Michael
Froude, Elspeth
Burns, Clare
Cardell, Elizabeth

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2024-01-31

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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