University Of Tasmania

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Exploring new-graduate physiotherapists' preparedness for, and experiences working within, Australian acute hospital settings

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:18 authored by Phan, A, Tan, S, Romany MartinRomany Martin, Mandrusiak, A, Forbes, R

Background: New-graduate physiotherapists experience a steep learning curve when transitioning from student to clinician. The acute hospital setting is known to present unique challenges for health clinicians, however, the preparedness of new-graduate physiotherapists for working within this setting remains unclear.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate new-graduate physiotherapists’ experiences of working in acute hospital settings and their perceptions toward how their pre-professional training prepared them for this setting.

Methods: A qualitative study with a general inductive approach was used. Semi-structured interviews with new-graduate physiotherapists working in acute hospital settings were undertaken (n = 14). Interview data were subject to thematic analysis.

Results: Four themes were generated from the data: 1) multifactorial and high-pressure nature; 2) managing relationships; 3) realizing responsibility; and 4) constructing realistic experiences.

Conclusion: The acute hospital setting presents unique obstacles and additional challenges when transitioning from student to clinician. New-graduates value the role of pre-professional training in their preparation for this context, however, new-graduates reflected on being sheltered from some areas of practice as students. Recommendations are suggested for education providers to adapt pre-professional training, and for employers to implement workplace strategies, which may support new-graduate physiotherapists in the acute hospital setting.


Publication title

Physiotherapy Theory and Practice




School of Health Sciences


Taylor & Francis Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified; Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services); Inpatient hospital care