The knowledge and perception of second and third year medical students at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine towards chiropractic
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Background: Many previous South African studies exploring the relationship between the public, chiropractic and other health care professionals have indicated a poor level of knowledge and perception between the researched populations. The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge and perceptions of second and third year medical students at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine towards chiropractic. Objectives: The objectives of this study were firstly, to document the demographic details of the second and third year participants, secondly, to determine the level of knowledge and exposure of the second and third year participants to chiropractic, thirdly, to determine the perceptions of second and third year participants regarding chiropractic and to compare this between second and third year participants, fourthly, to determine the utilization of chiropractic by second and third year participants, and finally, to determine any relationship between demographic factors, knowledge, perception and utilization of chiropractic. Method: A survey method was employed with the measuring tool being a questionnaire. It was decided that only second and third year medical students would be included in the study. Results: The response rate of the study was 42.5%. It was found that the majority of participants were female, of Black ethnicity and all participants were younger than 33 years old. Participants had a wide range, and a relatively satisfactory level of knowledge of chiropractic, however, the 3rd year participants had a significantly higher mean knowledge score than the second years. There was a wide range of perceptions of chiropractic, but a relatively negative level of perception. There were no significant differences in perception scores between the groups (p=0.859). III The third year participants seemed to have a better view of the scope of chiropractic than second year participants. The utilization of chiropractic by the participants, their friends and family was found to be low. A few areas of concern, with regards to the limited exposure that medical students at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine have towards chiropractic, were raised. Conclusion and recommendations: It can be concluded that second and third year medical students from The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine had a generally poor knowledge and perception of the chiropractic profession, which may be a possible reason for the poor communication between chiropractors and qualified medical practitioners. The presence of chiropractic students, who served as human anatomy demonstrators at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, may have had an impact on the results of the study. It is therefore recommended that further studies be done to investigate the effect that these demonstrators have at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine. Basic information on chiropractic should also be included at The Nelson Mandela School of Medicine to educate medical students on chiropractic.