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Free Content Physiotherapy Students' Attitudes Towards the Functional Ability of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain

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Background: Health care professionals with more positive attitudes towards patients with chronic low back pain are more likely to provide their patients with evidence based care. Thus it is important that student physiotherapist's attitudes become more positive over the course of their degree. There is evidence that this occurs within four year degree programmes, but no studies have looked at three year courses. The aim of this study was to investigate the difference in attitudes of students towards functioning in individuals with chronic low back pain between year 1, 2 and 3 students on a three year physiotherapy undergraduate degree programme.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 47 students [Yr 1 (n=13); Yr 2 (n=11); Yr 3 (n=23)] were recruited from a 3 year undergraduate physiotherapy course. All participants completed the Health Care Providers' Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-PAIRS).

Results: Students in year 3 had more positive attitudes towards function in patients with chronic low back pain than students in year 1[57.2 vs. 66.2 (mean difference – 8.9, 95% CI -17.2 to -0.86, p = 0.03)] and year 2 [57.2 vs. 65.9 (mean difference – 8.7, 95% CI -17.20 to -0.20, p = 0.04)]. There was no statistical difference between year 1 and 2. The values for year 3 were equivalent to those previously found in students in their final year of a UK based four year physiotherapy degree programme.

Conclusions: Students in their final year of a 3 year undergraduate programme had more positive attitudes towards the functional ability of patients with chronic low back pain when compared to year one and two students. Clinical placements may play an important positive role in the attitudinal shift and this should be investigated further.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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  • Pain and Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, Bi-annual journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association and special interest group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The journal comprises a range of different articles types from orignial articles to systematic reviews and letters around the topic of pain and rehabilitation. The journal is multidisciplinary in its focus and welcomes submissions from all professionals working in this multidisciplinary field. the abstract of all articles will be freely avilable online. Full text articles are available free online to members of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, and access to individual PDF articles can be purchased by non members.
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