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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-33

Perception of junior college students about Physiotherapy as a profession

1 Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Department, Sancheti Institute College of Physiotherapy, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Sancheti Institute for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission18-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance21-Jul-2017
Date of Web Publication18-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Nilima S Bedekar
Sancheti Institute College of Physiotherapy, Sancheti Healthcare Academy, Thube Park, Shivajinagar, Pune - 411 005, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/PJIAP.PJIAP_6_17

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Introduction: Junior college students have a wide spectrum of insight when it comes to choosing a career option. Physiotherapy is a health-care profession that involves evaluation and formulating a diagnosis to cure impairments, improve mobility, and hence improve quality of life. This study evaluated the perception of junior college students about physiotherapy as a profession and career option. Furthermore, the study determined the role sources of career information.
Methodology: The study population includes 200 science stream junior college students which were selected using cluster sampling, i.e., selecting students from different zones of Pune. Outcome measures used were a self-made questionnaire which was distributed among students. Bearing physiotherapy as an option within health sciences domain in mind, various types of questions specific to physiotherapy department, its practice areas, and the course study were put forth to these students through the questionnaire.
Results: Two-third of the information regarding physiotherapy was reported to be obtained from the internet (38%). Forty percent students did not know if physiotherapist can be directly visited/reference from doctor is required for physiotherapy. Only 2.5% and 0.5% students knew that physiotherapy is also useful in cardiorespiratory and pediatric conditions.
Conclusion: Majority (74.5%) of students would consider physiotherapy as a career option. There is still a need to improve the knowledge of students regarding physiotherapy through various sources such as career information and Indian Association of Physiotherapy to give out appropriate and useful information, as there is a dearth of physiotherapy professionals in India.

Keywords: Career option, junior college students, perception, physiotherapy

How to cite this article:
Bargaje PV, Bedekar NS, Rairikar S, Shyam A, Sancheti P. Perception of junior college students about Physiotherapy as a profession. Physiother - J Indian Assoc Physiother 2017;11:30-3

How to cite this URL:
Bargaje PV, Bedekar NS, Rairikar S, Shyam A, Sancheti P. Perception of junior college students about Physiotherapy as a profession. Physiother - J Indian Assoc Physiother [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Aug 20];11:30-3. Available from: http://www.pjiap.org/text.asp?2017/11/1/30/213279

  Introduction Top

Indian Association of Physiotherapists describes physiotherapy as physiotherapeutic system of medicine, which includes examination, treatment, advice, and instructions to any person preparatory to or for the purpose of or in connection with movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, physical disorder, disability, healing and pain from trauma and disease, and physical and mental conditions using physical agents. Physiotherapy is a professional health-care discipline that works closely with physicians and other health-care professionals.[1] Nowadays, physiotherapy services are available at a majority of places mostly at health institutions, private practices, school, sports, and workplace settings involving interaction between the physical therapists, patient, other health professionals, families, caregivers, and communities.[2] In spite of this, many junior college students still lack the appropriate information and are therefore unaware of the vast career opportunities open to them. This study implies that junior college students would like to opt for physiotherapy; however, there is a low level of knowledge about physiotherapy as a career option.A study was conducted by Riju Patel to evaluate awareness of physiotherapy among high schoolchildren of Anand district of Gujarat and to get their reviews about physiotherapy treatment. The questionnaire was randomly distributed among 150 students. Sixty-four percent had previous knowledge whereas 36% had no knowledge as such. Thus, they concluded that the students were not much aware of physiotherapy as a treatment and its application.[3]

Dissanayanka and Banneheka assessed the level of awareness about physiotherapy among the advanced level science students and to know the sources, from which they could obtain information regarding physiotherapy. The students from Sri Lankan school were approached for this purpose, and they concluded that students were not much aware of physiotherapy as a career, treatment method, and its application in disease conditions other than sports injury.[4]

Although a lot of literature concerning health-care professional's knowledge about the physiotherapy profession has been carried out of India,[5],[6] very few studies are focused on junior college students.[7] Thus, the aim of this study to find out about the perception of junior college students about physiotherapy as a profession.

Evidence suggests that an individual's character, level of intelligence and education, ability, and personal acceptability are derived from an occupational label.[8] The student's views about allied health profession are important to consider recruitment plans, as it will also affect the total number of new emerging physiotherapists for patients' care every year at a large scale. The amount of knowledge possessed by the students could also direct the recruiter's efforts and increase the efficiency of such efforts.[9]

  Methodology Top

This observational study was conducted on 200 junior college students belonging to Pune city. A self-made questionnaire was formulated. Face validity of the questionnaire was done by three physiotherapy professors and three students. The synopsis was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee. Cluster sampling technique was used according to four zones for selection of participants. Students who had taken science stream in 11th and 12th standard were included in this study whereas students not studying biology were excluded from the study. Written consent was taken from all the students. Two hundred students gave the consent and participated in this study. Descriptive statistics were analyzed in Excel on percentage basis.

  Results Top

Detail analysis is provided in [Table 1].
Table 1: Perception of students about physiotherapy

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

The results indicate that students had a varied and misleading perception about physiotherapy services. This indicates that junior college students of Pune city are less informed about physiotherapy profession as compared to the students of Gujarat. This difference in opinion for physiotherapy is mainly due to lack of knowledge about physiotherapeutic services and a very rare consultation for the same. A Sri Lankan research done in 2007 suggests a low level of awareness because of lack of accessibility for physiotherapy to general public.

Only 5% students knew that electrical modalities also play a vital role in physiotherapeutic services. A very low percentage of students (2.5) claimed to know about physiotherapeutic services in cardiorespiratory conditions. Health fairs and seminars are the most trustworthy options for career guidance and counseling whereas technology being at the tip of the fingers for today's generation. Internet is the most preferable option for fast forward results. Hence, it is necessary to promote physiotherapy on a larger scale at these sources as they are professional experts and change the outlook of the students with respect to our course. One-fifth of the students (21%) believed physiotherapy as a first-hand practice medical profession. Knowledge about physiotherapy service provisions was observed to be 23% only with maximum information spreading through internet (38%), through friends and collaborates (19%), and through family members (18.5%) whereas minimum information spreads through health fairs (5%). A maximum number of participants had an idea of the structure of physiotherapy department and equipment used (57.5%). Availability of physiotherapy services according to the students' perception was calculated to be maximum at all of these respective locations, i.e., private clinics and hospitals, government hospitals, and nongovernmental organizations (57.5%).

A study done on Ishikawa high school students investigated how senior high school student's knowledge of physiotherapy is acquired and their possible view of physiotherapy as a career. A closed-ended questionnaire format was used to survey the students' accuracy of knowledge and sources of information about physiotherapy. Science students were more aware than nonscience students. Eighty-five percent of respondents indicated their aspiration to have career, so acquisition of appropriate information on career during high school is important.[9]

Another study was conducted among premedical student of private and government colleges of Karachi. Nearly 13.5% of students were aware of physiotherapy as a profession in government and private colleges, whereas 31% students in government and 26.5% in private colleges had little knowledge whereas 28% students in government and 30.5% in private colleges were totally unaware of it. The conclusion was that awareness of physiotherapy, as a career among intermediate college student, would help in creating more effective marketing strategies.[10]

One-fourth of the students reported not to take up physiotherapy as a career option due to multiple reasons such as low salary, paramedical outlook, lack of rights, low level of first-hand practice, less respect as compared to medical profession (doctors), high physical exertion, and misconceptions of physiotherapists being masseurs.

A pilot study was performed on 45 participants in Thanjavur at a tuition center only 9% aware of all four (manual therapy, ice/heat therapy, hydrotherapy, both electrotherapy and exercise therapy) components of physiotherapy. The most commonly known treatment means of physiotherapy was manual therapy, followed by exercise therapy and electrotherapy and the least awareness is about hydrotherapy technique. The highest number of respondents (80%) replied physiotherapy was used in musculoskeletal conditions and only 17% replied physiotherapy was used in pediatrics. The awareness about the profession was less satisfactory which indicate similar results. Appropriate measures have to be taken to increase the awareness and create a good attitude toward the physiotherapy profession. Limitation of this study is that junior college students of single city were considered. In rural areas, the perception and awareness for career option may be varied. Increased sample size and covering more geographical areas would be helpful in determining perception of the students for physiotherapy as a career option. Implication of this study is to propagate details of physiotherapy, the amount of knowledge about physiotherapy, and its services to the students for the choice of option as career and the need for promotion for the same.

There is a huge demand for physiotherapist.[11],[12] There is a dearth of physiotherapy professionals in India. There are around 30,000 qualified physiotherapists in India[1] According to the World Health Organization, there should be one physiotherapist for every 10,000 citizens.[13] Consequently, in India, there is a shortage of over 95,000 physiotherapists! There is still a need to improve the knowledge of students regarding physiotherapy through various sources such as career information and Indian Association of Physiotherapy to give out appropriate and useful information, as there is a dearth of physiotherapy professionals in India.

  Conclusion Top

This study indicates that high percentage (74.5%) of students have a positive outlook toward taking up physiotherapy as a career option in health sciences field in city of Pune. Perception about training, fields, and application of physiotherapy is not clear. Sources of information need to be appropriate. Details should be reaching to the aspiring students for selecting this field for the benefits of the society.


We would like to extend our sincere appreciation toward all the students participating in the study and the institutions for their support.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

What is Physiotherapy? Available from: http://www.physiotherapyindia.org. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
Abhichandani D, Radia V. Awareness of various aspect of physiotherapy among medical residents. Int J Rehabil Sci 2015;4:1460-5. Available from: https://www.ijsr.net/archive/v4i10/SUB159055.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 Nov 10].  Back to cited text no. 2
Patel R. Awareness about physiotherapy among high school students of Anand district. Int J Innov Res Multidiscip Field 2015;1:1-5. Available from: http://www.academia.edu/26352231/AWARENESS_ABOUT_PHYSIOTHERAPY_AMONG_HIGH_SCHOOL_STUDENTS_OF_ANAND_DISTRICT. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 06].  Back to cited text no. 3
Dissanayanka T, Banneheka S. Awareness in physiotherapy among high school students. Int J Rehabil Sci 2014;4:2250-5. Available from: http://www.ijsrp.org/research-paper-0714/ijsrp-p3123.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 06].  Back to cited text no. 4
Dalley J, Sim J. Nurses' perceptions of physiotherapists as rehabilitation team members. Clin Rehabil 2001;15:380-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lee K, Sheppard L. An investigation into medical students' knowledge and perception of physiotherapy services. Aust J Physiother 1998;44:239-45.  Back to cited text no. 6
Tsuda HC, Kiser BC, Shepard KF. Factors influencing high school students' knowledge of physical therapy. Phys Ther 1982;62:1157-64.  Back to cited text no. 7
Whitefield TW, Allison I, Laing A, Turner P. Perception of the physiotherapy profession: A comparative study. Physiother Theory Pract 1996;12:39-48.  Back to cited text no. 8
Greenwood N, Bithell C. Perception of physiotherapy compared with nursing medicine amongst minority ethnic and white UK students: Implications for recruitment. Physiotherapy 2005;91:69-78.  Back to cited text no. 9
Harikrishnan R, Kamalambal H. Awareness and attitude towards physiotherapy among higher secondary students: A pilot survey study. Int J Physiother Res 2017;5:1846-51. Available from: https://www.ijmhr.org/ijpr. 5.1/IJPR.2016.203.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 01].  Back to cited text no. 10
Available from: http://www.jagranjosh.com/careers/physiotherapy-1288157397-1. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 01].  Back to cited text no. 11
Available from: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-scope-of-physiotherapy-in-upcoming-years. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 01].  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Table 1]


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