Awareness and Knowledge of Physiotherapy among Medical and Health Sciences Students: A Cross-Sectional Study
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Background and Objectives
Inter-disciplinary collaboration between members of the health care team is an
emerging importance in today's context. It is therefore fundamental for health professional students to have a good understanding of the roles of health professions other than their own to achieve better outcomes in the delivery of health care when they begin to practice. The purposes of the study were: (1) to ascertain the level of awareness and knowledge of physiotherapy among medical and health sciences students and (2) to assess the need to emphasize inter-professional education in their curriculum.
A total of 198 students from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of UTAR Sungai Long Campus participated in the study. The method for sampling applied was non-probability sampling using convenient sampling technique. A pre-validated printed questionnaire was distributed to Medical, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Nursing students. Data collected were analyzed using frequency and percentage analysis. The statistical tests used in this study were Mann-Whitney U test and chi-square test.
98.5% of the students reported that they knew what physiotherapy is. However, only 37.4% of the students had adequate awareness of physiotherapist work setting, and 4% had adequate awareness of sub-specialties in physiotherapy. A high number of students had inadequate knowledge on the cases seen by physiotherapists (87.9%) and the conditions treated by physiotherapists (90.9%). About 57.6% students had inadequate knowledge of the examination procedures conducted by physiotherapists, and 98% had inadequate knowledge of physiotherapy modalities.
The study concluded that there is lack of awareness and knowledge of physiotherapy among medical and health sciences undergraduates. Appropriate strategies must be taken to enhance their knowledge about physiotherapy. This can be done through the emphasis of inter-professional education during their undergraduate program of study.
Physiotherapy, awareness, knowledge, health sciences students.