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Attitudes of European physiotherapy students towards their chosen career in the context of different educational systems and legal regulations pertaining to the practice of physiotherapy: implications for university curricula

Abstract

Objectives

Differences in the organisation of educational systems and regulations pertaining to the practice of a profession can influence the attitudes of students towards their chosen career and their perceptions of employment possibilities. The aim of this paper was to discuss the different educational systems and legal regulations pertaining to the practice of physiotherapy in selected countries of the European Union (EU), and to present some conclusions regarding the influence of these differences on the perceptions of first-year physiotherapy students on their chosen career.

Design

Quantitative questionnaire-based study.

Setting

Twenty-one university-level schools in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Participants

Six hundred and sixty-seven first-year physiotherapy students.

Results

The mean response rate was 74%. Most students (79%) reported that a personal interest was the main reason why they had decided to study physiotherapy (79%). Most students from Spain and the Czech Republic reported that, on completion of their studies, they would like to work as physiotherapists (61/120, 51% Czech Republic; 140/250, 56% Spain), compared with only 4% of Polish students (P<0.001). Most students from Poland and Spain were not familiar with employment opportunities in their respective countries (202/250, 81% Spain; 212/250, 85% Poland), and claimed that it is difficult to find employment as a physiotherapist in their country. Most students from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Spain and the UK claimed that it is easy to find a job in other EU countries.

Conclusion

Most physiotherapy students chose their course because of an interest in physiotherapy. They were not familiar with employment possibilities for graduates, and believed that it is easier to find work in other EU countries. Both factors may further aggravate the problem of unemployment among physiotherapists.

Cite this article

Attitudes of European physiotherapy students towards their chosen career in the context of different educational systems and legal regulations pertaining to the practice of physiotherapy: implications for university curricula     Joanna Gotlib, Dariusz Bialoszewski, Jaroslav Opavsky, Rachel Garrod, Nicolas Estévez Fuertes, Lucia Pérez Gallardo, Berta Paz Lourido, Sonia Monterde, Carmen Suarez Serrano, Marc Sacco, Irena Kunicka
Physiotherapy - March 2012 (Vol. 98, Issue 1, Pages 76-85, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2011.02.003)

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