Clinical specialists and advanced practitioners in physical therapy: a survey of physical therapists and employers of physical therapists in ontario, Canada.

Darryl Yardley, PT: Physical therapist and graduate of the MSc(PT) Program, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.
Physiotherapy Canada (Impact Factor: 0.52). 01/2008; 60(3):224-38. DOI: 10.3138/physio.60.3.224
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Opportunities to expand the role of physical therapists (PTs) have evolved to include clinical specialists and advanced practitioners, although the literature on these roles is limited. We examined perceptions of PTs and PT employers in Ontario regarding clinical specialization and advanced practice.
Using a modified Dillman approach, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with 500 PTs and 500 PT employers in Ontario. Questionnaires were tailored to address specific issues related to each cohort.
Sixty percent of PTs and 53% of PT employers responded to the survey. Thirty-three percent of PT respondents already considered themselves "clinical specialists" (CS), and 8% considered themselves "advanced practitioners" (AP), although neither role is yet formally recognized in Canada. Both groups had substantial interest in pursuing formal recognition of CS and AP status. Respondents indicated that their primary motivation to pursue such roles was to enhance clinical reasoning skills with the goal of improving client outcomes (82% for the role of CS, 71% for the role of AP). Respondents supported the involvement of academic institutions in the process (60% for CS, 70% for AP).
PTs and PT employers are supportive of the roles of the CS and AP within the profession, even though there is currently no formal recognition of either role in Canada.

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