TRAINING NEEDS OF THERAPY AIDES AS PERCEIVED BY THREE LEVELS OF STAFF
BOGARSKY, RUTH SINGER
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The purpose of this study was to determine (a) what competencies, skills and knowledge are perceived as important for all entry-level Mental Hygiene Therapy Aides (MHTA's) in developmental centers in New York State who are required to complete a one year Traineeship Program; (b) whether administrators, supervisors and MHTA's agree on the training priorities, and (c) whether MHTA's and supervisors on day, evening and night shifts agree on the training priorities. Subjects, chosen by a systematic random selection process from a New York State Salary Register, included 58 administrators, 105 supervisors and 549 MHTA's.;Subjects ranked eleven training categories in order of importance. Differences in the perceptions of importance of five training categories among the six groups were hypothesized and statistically analyzed utilizing the Kruskal-Wallis One-Way Analysis of Variance by Ranks. Only one of the six null hypotheses was rejected, administrators and supervisors perceived Policies and Procedures to be significantly more important than the MHTA group.;Post hoc analysis was conducted on the remaining six training categories in order to determine if significant differences in the rank order of categories exist among the groups. In addition to the Kruskal-Wallis One-Way Analysis of Variance, the Mann-Whitney U Test was applied wherever the Kruskal-Wallis indicated significant differences among the groups in order to test for significant differences between pairs within the groups.;Significant differences resulted in the ranking order of six training categories by staff level and two training categories by shift. In addition to the ranking of the eleven training categories, 113 topics within the categories were rated on a scale from 1-4 in order to determine which topics are important to include in a standardized MHTA Traineeship curriculum.;The data for the total population indicates that topics and categories ranking highest were directly related to clients' care and safety, including behavior management of aggressive clients. Categories ranking lowest are Community Issues, Housekeeping Skills and General Knowledge. The results of the study will be used to (a) determine content for a state-wide standardized curriculum for entry-level MHTA's, (b) clarify job description of MHTA's, (c) plan further studies related to differing opinions of levels of staff regarding training mandates.
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