oa South African Family Practice - A framework for caring in physiotherapy education and practice : research

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Caring is central to the practice of physiotherapy. However, explicit components of caring required for South African physiotherapy practice within a model of primary healthcare are not detailed.

Employing a narrative enquiry as the selected methodology, data were produced through multiple methods to obtain multiple perspectives and orientation on how caring was facilitated in the physiotherapy curriculum and in practice. Data production, involving student physiotherapists, physiotherapy academics and practising physiotherapists, included in-depth focus group interviews, individual interviews, journal entries and open-ended questionnaires. Initially, the data were analysed separately for each group of research participants, followed by a cross-sectional analysis.
Components of caring were identified from the interactions of student physiotherapists with patients, academics, practising physiotherapists and among the students themselves. Emerging expressions of caring were grouped as collegiality and valuing; listening, and showing empathy and nurturing; being an expert practitioner; having interdisciplinary knowledge and utilising biopsychosocial intervention; having cultural and language competence; and community and human-interconnectedness.
This paper identifies the components of caring that are important for physiotherapy across multiple sectors. The findings are significant for physiotherapy development and may be considered within other health science professions.

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