PERCEPTION OF PHYSIOTHERAPIST PROFESSION BY FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS IN POLAND AND SPAIN - IMPLICATIONS FOR CURRICULA
1 Division of Teaching and Outcomes of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
2 Division of Rehabilitation, Department of Physiotherapy, Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
3 Escuela Universitaria de Fisioterapia, València (SPAIN)
4 Escuela de Fisioterapia, "Duques de Soria" Universidad de Valladolid (SPAIN)
5 Depto. de Enfermeria y Fisioterapia, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca (SPAIN)
6 Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona (SPAIN)
7 Departamento de Fisioterapia,Universidad de Sevilla (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:University curricula often ignore the development relation issue among different medical professions. This perception is based on stereotypes that are not properly discussed during Health Sciences studies and they are not properly reinforced. Of course, this may influence negatively the development of students’ perception of the physiotherapy profession.
The main objective of this study is to compare both Polish and Spanish students’ perception of physiotherapy profession. The study sample is based on 500 first-year Bachelor programme students from eleven university centers in Poland and five university centers in Spain. These Centers offer studies in Physiotherapy and 250 Polish students – (PL), 250 Spanish students – (ES) have participated in this survey.
In this study, we have used a questionnaire (21 questions) to gather some specific information and it has been designed by the authors. The questionnaire applied, not only to Polish students, but Spanish as well was of three types:
a) single-choice questions,
b) questions requiring some subjective opinion which answers ranged from most important (signed 1) to least important, and
c) semi-open questions.
The survey was carried out at the beginning of the 1st semester of the Bachelor’s programme in both countries and it was an anonymous questionnaire and non compulsory.
The statistical analysis of the questionnaire was based on STATISTICA 9.0 software by StatSoft Institute (Warsaw, Poland). The nature of the data (nominal, discrete and ordinal) needed the use of non-parametric statistical testing methods. The Mann-Whitney U, Chi-square test were used to determine statistical significance (p<0.05).
About 31% PL and 17% ES believe that physiotherapists and physicians like to have equal professional status (p<0.05). According to 52% PL and 71% ES physiotherapists’ status is lower (p<0.05). 16% PL and 39% ES understand that it is equal to nurses’ (p<0.05). Others, however, think that for 74% PL and 40% ES it is higher that nurses’ status (p<0.05).
We would like to underline that 76% PL and no ES answered that physiotherapy is a medical profession (p<0.05). On the other hand, 7% PL and 32% ES stated that physiotherapy is associated with physical education (p<0.05). In another questions, the participants answered that 11% PL and 51% ES, it is a separate profession (p<0.05). At the same time, 94% PL and 60% ES replied that physiotherapists should work with physicians on equal terms (p<0.05). Finally, 3% PL and 26% ES considered that physiotherapists should have complete freedom in taking care of patients (p<0.05).
We would like to underline that PL participants believe that physiotherapy is a medical profession, although it has been for a long time their training has been joined to physical education. Nevertheless, ES participants consider both different or separate professions.
In short, we would like to point out that physiotherapy should be considered as a medical profession and, also, we understand that both health sciences professions should work as a team to ensure the high quality of treatment to patients. This educational proposal is based on EU countries physiotherapy education policy and it is implemented not only in medical but physiotheral centers as well.
Keywords: Physiotherapist profession, medical team, cooperation.