Professional development from the perspective of new-graduate physiotherapists within Australian hospital settings: A qualitative study




physiotherapy, professional development, new graduate, hospital, interviews


Introduction: The transition from physiotherapy student to clinician within hospital settings has been identified as overwhelming, leaving new graduates experiencing significant anxiety and stress. Professional development plays a major role in facilitating the transition from student to clinician. However, the perceived professional development needs of new graduates in hospital settings and the factors that influence graduates’ decision-making regarding professional development remain relatively unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the professional development needs of new-graduate physiotherapists working in hospital settings and to explore graduates’ decision-making relating to engagement in professional development.

Methods: A qualitative study utilising a general inductive approach was undertaken to investigate new-graduate physiotherapists’ experiences. Telephone interviews were conducted with 15 new-graduate participants, and data were subject to thematic analysis.

Results: Five key themes regarding hospital-based new-graduate physiotherapists’ professional development needs and decision-making were generated following analysis: 1) practical and clinical relevance, 2) influence from external supports, 3) translation to practice, 4) accessing professional development and 5) professional development for the future. This provided insight regarding the challenges faced in accessing professional development during the transition from student to clinician.

Conclusions: This study has highlighted the complexity of new-graduate physiotherapists’ decision-making and perceived needs surrounding professional development within the hospital setting.  New-graduate physiotherapists perceived that the hospital workplace provided sufficient resources for professional development. However, guidance from supervisors and colleagues within the hospital workplace was highly valued by new graduates when choosing professional development, including informal professional development opportunities. Research is needed to further understand the role of professional development of physiotherapists in hospital settings.


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How to Cite

Tan, S., Phan, A., Martin, R., Mandrusiak, A., & Forbes, R. (2022). Professional development from the perspective of new-graduate physiotherapists within Australian hospital settings: A qualitative study . Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 23(4), 35–51.