Determining differences between novice and expert physiotherapists in undertaking emergency on-call duties
This study explored the perceptions of physiotherapists with different levels of context related experience undertaking emergency on-call duties in New Zealand (NZ). A purpose-designed questionnaire was developed to investigate whether differences existed between novice and expert physiotherapists in their perceptions of emergency on-call duties and in their responses to an emergency on-call vignette. A questionnaire was administered to 71 participants with varying levels of on-call experience, in all centres providing emergency on-call services within NZ. Years of active emergency on-call experience were used to classify novices (less than 5 years) and experts (more than 5 years). A response rate of 79% (n = 56) was obtained. Significant differences between novices and experts were seen in self-rated confidence scores, self-rated stress levels and perceived support required whilst undertaking emergency oncall duties (all p < .001). There were no statistically significant differences between novices and experts in response to any questions in the vignette. The results of this study provide useful information for service providers regarding the perceptions and concerns of emergency on-call physiotherapists. It is recommended that novice physiotherapists be provided with better opportunities to gain specific context related experience prior to undertaking emergency on-call duties in order to improve confidence levels and reduce stress associated with undertaking on-call duties. In addition, specific continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities and support mechanisms should be provided for all staff undertaking emergency on-call work.