Explorations of the expectations, perceptions and beliefs of Physiotherapy in a non-healthcare student- a qualitative study
Question: What are the expectations, perceptions and beliefs of a non-healthcare student population of physiotherapy? What influences these expectations, perceptions and beliefs? Design: One to one semi structured interviews using a qualitative, phenomenological approach. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Participants: Five undergraduate UK Higher education students studying a non-healthcare course. Results: Five themes were identified: Respected profession, Physiotherapists are rehabilitators, Physiotherapists do not treat acutely ill inpatients, previous experience is an influencer, media is an influencer. This study found that non-healthcare students respect physiotherapists’ judgement; believed they have an important role in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions; and did not expect physiotherapists to be involved in acute stroke care or critical care. Their views were influenced by previous personal or family experience with physiotherapy and sources of media such as television and the internet. Conclusion: Addressing expectations with patients before treatment starts, may enhance patient compliance and recovery. In relation to the studies aims, researchers found that a non-healthcare population expected physiotherapists to be involved in MSK and orthopaedic rehabilitation and trusted their clinical knowledge in these areas. They did not expect physiotherapists to be involved in acute stroke care or critical care. These expectations were influenced by previous experience with physiotherapy and/or the media. However, the limitations of the study should be considered, and the results treated with caution. Future studies should explore expectations of patient populations within cardiorespiratory and neurological physiotherapy prior to treatment.