Abstract

Background: The Australian physiotherapy workforce is changing both in demographics and service needs. Physiotherapy curriculum and clinical education focus is ideally based on up-to-date knowledge of this changing workforce.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the employment patterns of Physiotherapy graduates from The University of Notre Dame Australia (Notre Dame).

Method: An online survey was conducted of Notre Dame Physiotherapy graduates (2006-2012) with a 50% response rate (n=157).

Results: Survey results established the employment location, employment status, healthcare sector, area of practice, salary and employment history of Notre Dame graduates. The results highlighted links between curriculum, clinical placements and workforce areas, with the spread of workforce directly linked to focuses in the undergraduate curriculum.

Summary: This study highlighted the impact of directing undergraduate curriculum and clinical placement experiences towards areas of workforce need. The findings identify the importance of producing graduates equipped to meet the changing service needs of the healthcare industry.

What is known about the topic?
No previous studies have been conducted on the employment patterns of Notre Dame physiotherapy graduates and specifically the impact of targeting curriculum and clinical placements toward areas of workforce need.

What does this paper add?

Through a self-administered survey design, this study demonstrated that Notre Dame Physiotherapy graduates have increased uptake in areas targeted within the curriculum, specifically geriatrics, paediatrics and rural health. Although graduates were more attracted to the rural health setting, they were not retained.

What are the implications for practitioners?

This study informs educational institutions and workforce planners on the importance of linking curriculum, clinical placements and workforce to develop a sustainable workforce adaptable to clinical settings and areas.

Keywords

physiotherapist graduates, employment patterns, workforce needs, physiotherpay curriculum

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH14244

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