Research study focuses on ethical decision-making

A research study is looking for physical therapists to take part in interviews about ethical decision-making.

Andrea Sturm, a PhD student from the Interuniversity of Graz, and Dr Caroline Fryer and Dr Ian Edwards, both from the University of South Australia, are collaborating on the project to investigate factors influencing ethical decision-making in physical therapy practice worldwide. The research team are all physical therapists, researchers and educators who are teaching professional ethics.

Andrea said: ‘This interview project will build on the findings of a recent global survey we conducted with over 1,200 physical therapists from more than 70 countries. Over a quarter of the physical therapists reported that they did not learn, or could not remember learning about a code of conduct/ethics in their entry level PT education. And more than half did not learn or could not remember learning about an ethical decision-making framework. Additionally, some physical therapists reported that their PT education did not prepare them for handling the complex ethical dilemmas they now face in daily practice. Therefore, we identified a need to understand more about how physical therapists approach and conduct their ethical decision-making and how this differs between different parts of the world. Our research will enable ethics education to be more practice-informed and provide a diverse and inclusive perspective on ethical challenges, reasoning and action in the global physical therapy profession.

‘All five WCPT regions are important to our study. Wherever you are working as a physical therapist in the world, we want to hear from you about your experience of ethical decision-making in your clinical practice. Our research team is located in Austria and Australia. The hardest part of the world for us to reach is the South America Region of WCPT so we make a special call out to physical therapists from there to be part of our study. We would also like to get more responses from physical therapists in the Asia Western Pacific, North America Caribbean and the Africa Regions of WCPT.’

The online interviews will take about one hour.

For more information about the research project, please contact Andrea Sturm on Andrea.Sturm@Inter-Uni.net and Caroline Fryer on Caroline.Fryer@UniSA.edu.au. You can also contact Andrea and Caroline on Twitter: @AndreaSturmPT or @CarolineEFryer.

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