Determining differences between novice and expert physiotherapists in the emergency on-call environment: A vignette based study.

Reeve, JC
Dunford, F,
Larmer, P,
Item type
Conference Contribution
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists

Emergency on-call duties have been highlighted as key stress factors in newly qualified physiotherapists and job performance may be altered as a result. The purpose of this study was to determine what differences exist between novice and expert physiotherapists within the emergency on-call environment. A purpose-designed postal questionnaire was administered to emergency on-call providers in New Zealand. The questionnaire investigated participant’s attitudes towards emergency on-call service provision and presented a vignette-based clinical scenario. A response rate of 78.8 % (n = 56) was achieved. Significant differences between novices and experts were determined in scores for confidence (p = .0001), stress (p = .001) and support required (p = .001). Factors which particularly influenced both novice and expert stress levels when working as emergency oncall physiotherapists emerged as being working in isolation and working with a higher complexity of patients. A relationship was determined between confidence, level of support required and amount of stress felt (p = .001). Differences were demonstrated between novice and expert physiotherapists in their answers to a 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 the facility for independent problem solving and guided reflection was determined; the use of vignette based case studies may be one method which could be further exploited to meet these needs.

Platform Presentations from NZSP Biennial Conference, Dunedin, 18-20 April 2008, as published in New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy – July 2008, vol.36(2), pp.85
Rights statement
New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy is available free of charge as an Open Access journal on the Internet.