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WCPT - Liverpool 2016: Physical therapist lecturers in Spain: a descriptive study

Master Universitario en Terapia Manual Ortopedica Grupo de Investigación Blog Published 04 October 2016



Research, education and practice - Qualitative research


Physical therapist lecturers in Spain: a descriptive study


Martinez Pascual B., Torija L., De la Cueva M., Fernández S., Rodríguez D., Romero C.


Universidad Europea de Madrid, Physical Therapy, Villaviciosa de Odón, Spain


Relevance: Physical Therapy is a young health profession. The academic model in this area has not been studied enough yet.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify physical therapist lecturers currently employed in Spanish institutions to describe their role in order to have a better understanding of them as a key element in the educational process. Methods/Analysis: This was a descriptive study. 244-participants were enrolled from 50 Spanish institutions taking place in September-October 2015. We excluded 55-participants who were not physical therapists. A total of 179 were eligible for inclusion. The questionnaire was designed following discussion with 4-physical therapists lecturers. 17-items were generated focusing on different aspects of the physical therapist ́s role as a lecturer. Respondents were asked to provide information about sociodemographic data, seniority in their position, time devoted to teaching, type of teaching, clinical and research activity and satisfaction with their role as lecturers. Ethical committee approval was not necessary due to the type of the study.

Subjects were contacted through the Head of the Department from every institution offering Physical Therapy education in Spain, who accepted to deliver the online survey to their faculty members through Google Drive tool. Lecturers were asked to complete it within 7 weeks.

A descriptive analysis of the variables included in the study was carried out. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was run to test normality of sample. Categorical variables appear as absolute values and percentages. Statistical analysis was run with a 95% confidence interval. SPSS 22.0 package was used for the analysis of the data. Results: The gender distribution showed a split of 46.4% male and 53.6 % female, 80.4% of the respondents were in the 27-44 age range. Regarding qualification, 52.5% were Master ́s degree and 11.2% PhD. The hours per week devoted to teaching were more than 5 in 65%. The mix role of Lecturer-Practitioner was present in 78.8% of the respondents. As for clinical specialties, the main area of expertise was muscle-skeletal.

We can observe a clear predominance of physical therapy lecturers working as self- employed, 60.5 %, and the rest in specialty care (32.1%) and primary care (7.2%). The majority of the respondents stated having attended different courses to develop teaching skills, especially through master's education. When asked if they were to allocate their time freely, respondents chose a balanced combination of academic and clinical activity.

Discussion and conclusions: There is little prior evidence examining this position in Spain as most of the literature focuses on nursing and medicine. Stevenson (2004) conducted a survey in England to analyze the Lecturer-Practitioner role in physical therapy with a small sample of 19 lecturers. Hurst (2010) shows the difficulties to modify a clinical-role towards an educational-role. Most of these professionals improve their educational skills through specific training as shown in our study. Further studies are necessary to improve knowledge about physical therapy lecturer ́s role.
Impact and Implications: Knowledge about distribution and characteristics of physical therapy lecturers is a strong need to adequate specific training and maximize their contribution to the educational process.
Funding Acknowledgement: None
Key-Words: Faculty, Physical Therapy, Teaching

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