Knowledge, skills and professional behaviours needed for occupational therapists and physiotherapists new to work-related practice

Kerry Adam*, Elizabeth Gibson, Jenny Strong, Alexandra Lyle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The paper seeks to identify the key knowledge domains, skills and professional behaviours required to prepare occupational therapists and physiotherapists for employment in work related practice. Participants: Twelve experienced work related practitioners in one Australian state participated in face to face semi-structured interviews. Participants represented the majority of perspectives in the field and in addition to professional qualifications, a number of participants were employers or contractors of therapists. Methods: The paper reviews existing evidence about knowledge, skills and professional behaviours in the field. The results of a study examining requisite knowledge, skills and professional behaviours for occupational therapists and physiotherapists follow. Interviews were analysed using the Leximancer™ text analysis program developed at The University of Queensland. Results: A high level of congruence was evident in key areas of knowledge, skills and professional behaviours between all interviewees and the literature. Findings included the need for very good communication skills by both professions and the need for a sound grounding in specific disciplinary skills. Results identified that occupational therapists take a broad view of function and task analysis and that physiotherapists have good skills in anatomy, musculoskeletal assessment and movement analysis. Conclusions: These results are considered in relation to planning the clinical education of OT and PT students in preparation for work related practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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