Novice Physiotherapists’ Preparedness for Private Practice

Robyn Atkinson (formerly Vermeulen)

Purpose: The first year of practice is fraught with challenges yet little research exists examining physiotherapist preparedness for work. This study aimed to explore physiotherapist perceptions on preparedness for entering private practice

Methods: A qualitative approach guided interviews with 8 new graduates working in private practices within Melbourne, Australia. Sampling was purposive and interviews were analyzed thematically.

Findings: Three overriding themes were identified: 1) non-curricular experiences are important to prepare graduates for work in private practice; 2) attainment of specific private practice skills influences graduate preparedness; 3) colleague support facilitates graduate preparedness and development in private practice.

Conclusion: Non-curricular experiences and colleague support offered the necessary scaffolding for the graduates to report being prepared for work. Colleague support as a factor in graduate recruitment, early development and building confidence has important implications for employers and new graduates looking for work. Radiology instruction and clinical placements in private practice are recommended.

Atkinson, R., & McElroy, T. (2015). Preparedness for physiotherapy in private practice: Novices identify key factors in an interpretive description study. Manual Therapy. Advance online publication. doi: