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A comparison of the perceptions and aspirations of third-year physiotherapy students trained in three educational settings in Poland

Abstract

Objectives

In Poland, physiotherapy is offered at three types of school: medical universities, universities of physical education, and schools that do not specialise in either the medical sciences or physical education. This study explored the knowledge of students who were completing their physiotherapy studies about working in Poland and other countries of the European Union (EU), and about their vocational plans. Students were asked, through self-assessment, about aspects of the professional skills they had gained.

Design

Quantitative questionnaire-based study of students in three university settings.

Setting

Eleven university-level schools in Poland offering studies in physiotherapy and representing three orientations: medical sciences (MS), physical education (PE) and other universities (OU).

Participants

The study sample comprised of 954 third-year Bachelor programme students.

Results

The differences in university profiles did not influence the vocational plans of the students, with more than 70% (668/954) declaring that they would look for work outside Poland: 76% (725/954) in the UK and 69% (658/954) in Germany. Most students stated that finding work as a physiotherapist is difficult in Poland (686/954,72%) and easy in other EU countries (763/954, 80%). Differences in university profiles had an effect on the students’ assessments of their professional skills, as students from universities without a long-standing tradition of training in physiotherapy declared that they were less well prepared to work as physiotherapists; the difference was statistically significant for 12 of the 16 domains examined (P<0.05).

Conclusions

In the light of these results, an increased influx of Polish physiotherapists, trained according to European standards, into EU countries, especially the UK and Germany, is to be expected in the near future. The physiotherapists will predominantly be graduates of medical and sports-oriented state universities. It appears advisable to launch, under the auspices of an EU programme, an integrated employment information system for physiotherapists that would offer updated information on current demand in individual EU countries.

Cite this article

A comparison of the perceptions and aspirations of third-year physiotherapy students trained in three educational settings in Poland Joanna Gotlib, Dariusz Białoszewski, Janusz Sierdziński, Mirosław J. Jarosz, Piotr Majcher, Katarzyna Barczyk, Aleksandra Bauer, Anna Cabak, Joanna Grzegorczyk, Maciej Płaszewski, Wojciech Kułak, Olga Nowotny-Czupryna, Katarzyna Prokopowicz Physiotherapy - March 2010 (Vol. 96, Issue 1, Pages 30-37, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2009.08.005)

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