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CHANGES IN ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE PHYSIOTHERAPIST PROFESSION DURING B.A. STUDIES IN POLAND AND SPAIN – PILOT STUDY

J. Gotlib1, D. Białoszewski1, B. Paz Lourido2, J. Sierdziński1

1Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
2Universitat de les Illes Balears (SPAIN)
Introduction
Students entering university usually form impressions about their future career on the basis of stereotypical opinions prevalent in society. Several factors can consolidate or change students’ attitudes towards their chosen career in the course of B.A. (vocationally oriented) studies. The most important of these factors include the perception of employment opportunities after graduation, professional independence and autonomy, as well as the status of the physiotherapist in the therapeutic team.

Aim of study
The study aimed to analyse changes in students’ attitudes towards the physiotherapist profession in the course of B.A. studies at selected university-level schools in Poland and Spain.

Material and methods
A questionnaire of 52 questions was completed voluntarily and anonymously by a total of 114 third-year B.A. students, including 74 students (mean age: 22, 20/24 min./max, 66 women /8 men) of the Medical University of Warsaw, Poland (MUW) and 40 students (mean age: 22, 21/39 min./max, 30 women/10 men) representing Universitat de les Illes Balears, Mallorca, Spain (UIB). The questionnaire was administered twice to the same group of students: at the beginning of their first year of the B.A. programme and during their last year in the programme. In view of the nature of the study group and research methodology, the study did not require approval from the Ethical Review Board at the Medical University of Warsaw.

Statistical design
Statistical analysis of study data was carried out with Statistica 9.0 software package (Statsoft, Warsaw, Poland). The Mann-Whitney U test was used on account of the nature of study data and the number of comparative groups (p<0.05).

Results
In the UIB group, B.A. studies did not change their perception of such characteristics of their chosen career as: interesting (median 3), ensuring opportunities for broadening one’s knowledge (median 2), possibilities for promotion (4), creative (5), difficult (5), ensuring a stable job (6) and fashionable (9) (p=NS). There were changes in the students’ opinions regarding such characteristics of the profession as: necessary, underestimated, responsible, ensuring prestige, and associated with a closed professional community (p<0.05).

Conclusions
1. B.A. studies effect changes in physiotherapy students’ attitudes towards their chosen career, especially regarding employment possibilities.
2. The results of this pilot study need to be confirmed by studying larger student populations.