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INTERNATIONAL PHYSIOTHERAPY STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS COOPERATION WITHIN THE INTERDISCIPLINARY MEDICAL TEAM

J. Gotlib1, D. Białoszewski2, J. Opavsky3, A. Kaczmarská4, N. Estévez Fuertes5, L. Pérez Gallardo6, B. Paz Lourido7, S. Monterde8, C. Suarez Serrano9

1Division of Teaching and Outcomes of Education, Faculty of Health Science, Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
2Division of Rehabilitation, Department of Physiotherapy, 2nd Medical Faculty, Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
3Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacky University, Olomouc (CZECH REPUBLIC)
4Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague (CZECH REPUBLIC)
5Escuela Universitaria de Fisioterapia, València (SPAIN)
6Escuela de Fisioterapia, "Duques de Soria" Universidad de Valladolid (SPAIN)
7Departamento de Enfermeria y Fisioterapia, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca (SPAIN)
8Facultat de Medicina i Ciències de la Salut, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona (SPAIN)
9Departamento de Fisioterapia,Universidad de Sevilla (SPAIN)
Effective collaboration within a medical team is playing an increasingly important role in ensuring a high level of service in health care.
Students of medical degree programs perceive other medicine-related professionals in a predetermined, frequently stereotypical, manner from the very beginning of their university education. The university education, instead of verifying the image, reinforces it further.
The objective of this study was to analyse the perception of the professional status of the physiotherapist compared to the status of a doctor and a nurse among physiotherapy students in the context of the different legal regulations pertaining to the practice of physiotherapy in different countries: in the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Poland and Spain.
The study involved 771 students from university-level schools of different educational orientations in 4 counries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and New Zealand (mean age: 22). The groups were matched for age and gender.
The students were surveyed voluntary on the first year of studies during 2006-2009. The research tool was an anonymous standardised questionnaire designed by the authors (21 questions). The statistical analysis (STATISTICA 9.0) was conducted using the non-parametric chi-square (χ2) test (p<0.05). 64% of WUM and 29% of AUT students believed that the status of the physiotherapist profession is lower than that of doctors (χ2- 52,44; p<0.02). 86% WUM and 53% AUT believed that the physiotherapist should be a professional partner of the doctor (χ2 -59,33; p<.000).
1. It is necessary to complement the curricula of Physiotherapy-related universities with courses serving the development of future interdisciplinary relations, with special emphasis on the skills of interpersonal communication within the medical team. The issue should be addressed starting from the beginning of university-level education.
2. The interdisciplinary training curriculum should be adapted to the needs and possibilities of individual university-level schools and degree programmes. Moreover, it needs to be regularly re-evaluated to ensure optimal benefits from work of the interdisciplinary team in the future.