Determining differences between novice and expert physiotherapists in the emergency on-call environment: A vignette based study.
Reeve, JC; Dunford, F,; Larmer, P,
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Emergency on-call duties have been highlighted as key stressfactors in newly qualified physiotherapists and job performancemay be altered as a result. The purpose of this study was todetermine what differences exist between novice and expertphysiotherapists within the emergency on-call environment.A purpose-designed postal questionnaire was administered toemergency on-call providers in New Zealand. The questionnaireinvestigated participant’s attitudes towards emergency on-callservice provision and presented a vignette-based clinical scenario.A response rate of 78.8 % (n = 56) was achieved. Significantdifferences between novices and experts were determined inscores for confidence (p = .0001), stress (p = .001) and supportrequired (p = .001). Factors which particularly influenced bothnovice and expert stress levels when working as emergency oncallphysiotherapists emerged as being working in isolation andworking with a higher complexity of patients. A relationship wasdetermined between confidence, level of support required andamount of stress felt (p = .001). Differences were demonstratedbetween novice and expert physiotherapists in their answers toa clinical case scenario particularly in the areas of prioritisation,problem definition and in the interpretation of analysed results.A need for novices to gain the type of experience which has thefacility for independent problem solving and guided reflection was determined; the use of vignette based case studies may be onemethod which could be further exploited to meet these needs.