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Factors facilitating physiotherapists to undertake taught master’s education.

By Peter Glover and Catherine Bulley


PURPOSE: To explore the personal perspectives of physiotherapists\ud regarding the factors that facilitated them to commence their taught\ud physiotherapy-related Master’s Level Study (MLS). RELEVANCE:\ud There is a lack of contemporary research into the factors that\ud encourage physiotherapists to undertake formal post-qualifying study.\ud With rapidly increasing knowledge there is a requirement for\ud continuing professional development (CPD) to enable evidencebased\ud practice. Taught MLS provides guidance in this development.\ud Greater understanding of the factors assisting clinicians to undertake\ud MLS will enable more effective facilitation in clinical and educational\ud environments. PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sample of 9 volunteers\ud (8 female, 1 male, mean age: 36 ±7.29) was recruited. Participants\ud were: engaged in part-time taught MLS; registered with the\ud United Kingdom’s professional regulatory body; working within\ud the National Health Service, and possessed a minimum of four\ud years clinical experience. METHODS: A qualitative, interpretative,\ud phenomenological study was undertaken with the assumption that\ud reality is individual and all viewpoints are valid. Following ethical\ud approval, individual, semi-structured interviews (mean time: 67\ud minutes) were conducted using an interview schedule. Questions\ud were derived from a literature review, two developmental interviews,\ud and two pilot interviews. ANALYSIS: Interviews were transcribed\ud verbatim and a summary was member-checked to ensure that\ud initial interpretations were appropriate. Data analysis was conducted\ud using the framework of interpretative phenomenological analysis.\ud This focuses on analysis and interpretation of the participants’\ud words in context to gain deeper understanding of their experiences.\ud Quotations that communicated similar meanings and ideas were\ud grouped to form themes. Where conceptual links were identified,\ud key themes emerged. Peer verification of this analysis was\ud conducted to increase rigour and involved reflexive discussions\ud with an experienced qualitative researcher. RESULTS: Four key\ud themes emerged that described the facilitating factors in different\ud environments: social, educational, clinical, and working. Within the\ud Social Environment, participants commented that a settled home\ud life and future domestic plans influenced their MLS commencement.\ud There were several facilitators associated with the Educational\ud Environment; some individuals expressed positive emotions towards\ud learning, while others were seeking the challenge of MLS. Also, the\ud content of the Master’s programmes being clinically relevant and\ud accredited, and the flexibility of the modular structure were motivating\ud factors for some participants. Regarding the Clinical Environment;\ud some individuals indicated a desire to develop their skills within\ud their professional role, or for career progression. Finally, Working\ud Environment facilitation came from the provision of professional\ud support, the expectation for CPD, and interactions with colleagues\ud with experience of MLS. CONCLUSIONS: The experiences of this\ud group of post-qualifying students suggest that the factors facilitating\ud them to undertake MLS were varied and individualised. Their\ud facilitators could be practical, personal or professional in nature.\ud Further research into the facilitators to undertake various types of\ud post-qualifying education is required to generate a body of evidence\ud to help develop effective mechanisms for supporting clinicians in their formal CPD. IMPLICATIONS: Educational institutions may need\ud to consider promoting the professional and personal benefits of\ud undertaking their programmes to encourage clinician enrolment.\ud Whereas employers offering practical professional support may\ud also aid facilitation

Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V. Amsterdam
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