New graduate physiotherapists’ perceived preparedness for clinical practice. A cross-sectional survey

Paul Chesterton, Jennifer Chesterton, Jen Alexanders

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Objectives: The study aimed to explore new United Kingdom (UK) graduate physiotherapists’ perceived preparedness for clinical practice to provide valuable information to support curriculum development.
Methods: An online, mixed method cross-sectional questionnaire was used. Newly qualified UK physiotherapists completed a survey, capturing how physiotherapy degrees prepared them for practice against 1) UK proficiency standards and 2) cross-discipline physiotherapy related clinical skills. Respondents were asked for reflections of their degree course including teaching and effectiveness. Data was converted into proportions with a 95% confidence interval. Likert scale questions were treated as numeric variables with the mean and standard deviation (SD) calculated for combined responses. Thematic analysis reported patterns of data extracted from open-ended questions.
Results: Of a total of 376 respondents, 365 were included in data analysis. Overall respondents perceived that courses prepared them ‘well’ against 12 of the 15 standards, on a Likert scale of 1-5. Respondents reported that perceived competence was ‘indifferent’ for manual therapy skills (Mean 3.14 ± SD 1.13), red flag (3.45 ± 1.11) and clinical flag management (2.92 ± 1.16). Exercise prescription (2.42 ± 1.35), psychosocial skills (2.27 ± 1.23) and patient management (2.41 ± 1.12) were areas identified for further teaching focus. Placements were the preferred teaching method most applicable to practice followed by practical seminars.
Conclusion: Respondents felt sufficiently prepared for practice against UK proficiency standards but not physiotherapy related clinical skills. Areas for curricula development included exercise prescription, psychology and pain management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Physiotherapy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Jul 2021


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