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Preparedness of new graduate Australian physiotherapists in the use of electrophysical agents

Abstract

Objective

To determine the perceptions of physiotherapists concerning the preparedness of new graduates to use electrophysical agents (EPAs) in clinical practice.

Design

An observational cross-sectional questionnaire was developed and demonstrated to be reliable and valid.

Participants

The questionnaire was mailed to all registered physiotherapists in Australia in 2005 (n=12,893).

Results

In total, 3538 questionnaires were returned complete. Two forms of non-responder analysis indicated that the sample and their associated responses were representative of the Australian physiotherapy population. Eight out of 10 new graduates felt prepared to use EPAs that are common in Australian clinical practice. However, 80% felt underprepared to use a range of other EPAs. Similar trends were found when new graduate preparedness was examined from the perspective of physiotherapists who were working with or mentoring new graduates. However, experienced physiotherapists rated preparedness lower than the new graduates themselves (χ2=525.7, P<0.01).

Conclusions

These findings raise questions about the adequacy of entry-level education and the level of competence expected of new graduates for the safe and effective application of a range of EPAs upon entry to the workforce. The findings indicate the need for clearer guidelines on the levels of competency expected of new graduate physiotherapists in Australia.

Cite this article

Preparedness of new graduate Australian physiotherapists in the use of electrophysical agents L.S. Chipchase, M.T. Williams, V.J. Robertson Physiotherapy - December 2008 (Vol. 94, Issue 4, Pages 274-280, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2008.09.003)

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