What is professionalism for a student physiotherapist?
What is professionalism in the context of a student physiotherapist ?
Professionalism is a term used to refer to ‘qualities, skills, competence and behaviours you are expected to bring to physiotherapy’ (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 2014, n.p). In general, there are a defined set of attributes which are usually associated with professionalism: some of these include being calm, hard-working, focused, demonstrating leadership skills where necessary and communicating effectively with both colleagues and clients. A true professional is expected to have a strong knowledge about their work and surrounding topics, to maintain a ‘work persona’ which does not allow personal activity to impact on the doing of their job, and to embody in practice the central values of the role they are performing. Alongside these core attributes, in the healthcare profession specifically the notion of professionalism is usually tied very closely to maintaining high standards of care. This involves working to meet defined principles and standards (which, for a physiotherapist, can be determined by the CSP), dealing effectively and sensitively with emotive or sensitive issues and maintaining a clear and clinical focus on decision-making that will be most beneficial to clients. It should also be acknowledged that true professionalism involves knowing and understanding one’s limitations, and being confident to admit when a situation is beyond one’s capabilities or beyond the scope of one’s role. Doing so ultimately results in better outcomes for every party. This is particularly important for a student, who is still in the midst of the learning process: while a student should participate actively as much as possible, admitting when they need assistance is crucial. Ultimately, a professional student physiotherapist will strive to demonstrate the attributes listed above and to enhance their practice by learning as much as possible about their central role and the standards to which they are accountable.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (2014). ‘What is professionalism?’. Accessed 19.09.2016 – available online.