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Professionalism in Physiotherapy

Regulators and educators in the profession of physiotherapy have noted a recent trend: an increase in the number of concerns relating to professional behaviour. Over the past year, CAPR, Canadian regulators and physiotherapy educators have worked collaboratively to try to better understand and address this issue as it relates to both physiotherapy students and registrants.

What is professionalism?

In the spring of 2019, Canadian physiotherapy regulators tried to pool their complaints data relating to professionalism but were chal­lenged by the fact that they did not have a single definition of profes­sionalism. At the invitation of CAPR’s Registrars Committee, Sue Murphy of the University of British Columbia, presented a webinar on the topic. Her key messages were that professionalism is indeed hard to define, and it is also difficult to teach. Furthermore, it is a fluid concept that may change over time, and in different de­mographics or contexts. A deeper dive was recommended.

Joint CAPR and CCPUP Think Tank

To that end, CAPR and the Canadian Council of Physiotherapy Uni­versity Programs (CCPUP) hosted a day-long workshop on June 4, 2019. Led by Sue Murphy, Susan Paul of the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia and Kathleen Norman of Queen’s University, eleven regulatory staff from 10 provincial/territorial juris­dictions and 45 educators from all 15 Canadian physiotherapy edu­cation programs participated. After a full day of productive discus­sion there was a deeper understanding of the issues and a commit­ment to ongoing collaboration between regulators and educators to create a national vision for professionalism, to develop a common nomenclature to aid in data collection and to work together to better educate students and registrants about professionalism. The work continues. Stay tuned for further updates on our progress.