Survey of Physiotherapists: Preparing Physiotherapy Students for Global Health Work

Caroline Vidal

Purpose: To describe the most effective strategies to prepare physiotherapists for future work in global health from the perspective of Canadian physiotherapists who have experience, in any capacity, in a low-income or middle-income country (LMIC).

Methods: Members of the International Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (n=175) and Team Canada Healing Hands (n=20) were invited to respond to an online survey.

Findings: Sixty-six physiotherapists responded (34%). Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The most effective strategies identified were well-organized student clinical placements and longer-term post-graduate volunteer/work in LMICs. Experienced physiotherapists were perceived to be the most valuable to host organizations.

Conclusion: Universities must implement strategies to ensure clinical placements in LMICs benefit both students and host organizations. Further research should focus on perspectives of host organizations.