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Exploration of physiotherapists’ motivations to embark upon taught master’s level study

By Peter Glover and Catherine Bulley


Background: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a professional\ud responsibility for allied health professionals1. Post-qualifying study is one means of\ud meeting CPD requirements, which may partially explain why the uptake of\ud physiotherapy-related Masters level study (MLS) is increasing2. However, there is a lack\ud of literature investigating why physiotherapists undertake MLS. This research attempted\ud to address this gap in the literature by exploring the motivations of physiotherapist to\ud embark upon taught physiotherapy-related Masters study.\ud Method: Following appropriate ethical approval, a purposive sample of 9 volunteers (8\ud female, 1 male, mean age: 36 ± 7.29) was recruited. A qualitative, interpretative,\ud phenomenological study was undertaken with the assumption that reality is individual\ud and all viewpoints are valid. Individual, semi- structured interviews (mean time: 67\ud minutes) were conducted using an interview schedule. Questions were derived from a\ud review of motivational literature, developmental interviews, and expert approval.\ud Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Following member-checking and peer review, Key\ud Themes were inductively derived from the context and interpretation of the transcripts.\ud Results: Four Key Themes emerged that described the facilitators to commence MLS in\ud different environments: social, educational, clinical, and working. These themes provided\ud an integrated overview of the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for this group of\ud physiotherapists to undertake their MLS. Some participants indicated that a settled\ud domestic life and future plans influenced their timing of MLS commencement. Personal\ud and professional development was identified as a major motivator for participants, as\ud were encouragement and inspiration from colleagues with experience of Masters study.\ud Conclusions: The experiences of this group of physiotherapists suggest that the factors\ud motivating them to undertake MLS were varied and individualised. Their motivators\ud could be practical, personal or professional in nature. There are possible implications for\ud both educational providers and employers to promote the benefits of MLS and to invest\ud in support structures to facilitate its commencement

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