Affiliations: Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Trinity College, The University of Dublin, Ireland
Corresponding author: Dr. Emma Stokes, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, James’s Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. Tel.: +353 1 896 2127; firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: At present there is limited literature on leadership within the profession of physiotherapy. Physiotherapy in Ireland faces a period of change and reform due to the issue of graduate unemployment, changes to the traditional career pathway and the impending opening of the physiotherapy register in 2016.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to explore the beliefs and opinions of physiotherapists in Ireland of the current situation regarding leadership and leadership development within the profession of physiotherapy.
METHODS: A web-based questionnaire was sent to members of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP). This included an open question inviting comment on leadership and/or leadership development. Qualitative analysis of the responses was conducted using a thematic analysis approach.
RESULTS: The response rate to the questionnaire was 22% (n = 615). Of these 153 respondents left comments in the open response box. Seven themes were identified in the responses. These were ‘Leadership is important’, ‘Education’, ‘Leadership Qualities’, ‘Leadership Management’, ‘Leadership versus Management’, ‘Role of the ISCP’ and ‘Perceptions of the Physiotherapy Profession’.
CONCLUSIONS: Physiotherapists in Ireland recognise the importance of leadership to their profession and would like more opportunities to develop leadership skills. This analysis will form the base on which to guide further research on this topic. The results of this study are both timely and relevant given the impending changes to the profession of physiotherapy with the introduction of the physiotherapy registration.
Keywords: Leadership, physiotherapy profession, Ireland, leadership development