Preparedness of new graduate Australian physiotherapists in the use of electrophysical agents

L. S. Chipchase, M. T. Williams, V. J. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the perceptions of physiotherapists concerning the preparedness of new graduates to use electrophysical agents (EPAs) in clinical practice. Design: An observational cross-sectional questionnaire was developed and demonstrated to be reliable and valid. Participants: The questionnaire was mailed to all registered physiotherapists in Australia in 2005 (n = 12,893). Results: In total, 3538 questionnaires were returned complete. Two forms of non-responder analysis indicated that the sample and their associated responses were representative of the Australian physiotherapy population. Eight out of 10 new graduates felt prepared to use EPAs that are common in Australian clinical practice. However, 80% felt underprepared to use a range of other EPAs. Similar trends were found when new graduate preparedness was examined from the perspective of physiotherapists who were working with or mentoring new graduates. However, experienced physiotherapists rated preparedness lower than the new graduates themselves (χ2 = 525.7, P < 0.01). Conclusions: These findings raise questions about the adequacy of entry-level education and the level of competence expected of new graduates for the safe and effective application of a range of EPAs upon entry to the workforce. The findings indicate the need for clearer guidelines on the levels of competency expected of new graduate physiotherapists in Australia. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Competency
  • Electrophysical agents
  • New graduate
  • Preparedness


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