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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-24

Awareness and perception of physiotherapy among senior students of selected secondary schools in a South-Western community of Nigeria


Department of Physiotherapy, Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo-state, Nigeria

Date of Submission28-Feb-2020
Date of Decision18-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Samuel Olufemi Bolarinde
Department of Physiotherapy, Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo-state
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijptr.ijptr_2_20

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  Abstract 


Context: Physiotherapy plays a significant role in health care system. The pursuit of career in physiotherapy depends largely on the information available to the students about the practice of physiotherapy.
Aims: To investigate the level of awareness and perception of physiotherapy profession among senior secondary school students.
Settings and Design: The cross-sectional study recruited 259 senior class students in selected secondary schools in Owo local government area of Ondo-state, South-western Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire adapted from similar studies was used to obtain information on level of awareness and perception of physiotherapy.
Statistical Analysis Used: Data were summarized using mean, standard deviation, frequency and percentiles.
Results: 71.0% of participants were aware of physiotherapy profession. 76.8% were aware that physiotherapy can be studied in University while others believed it can be studied in polytechnic (3.9%), college of education (6.6%) and technical schools (5.4%). 45.9% knew about adequate subject combination for gaining admission to study physiotherapy while 54.1% did not know about adequate subject combination. The overall knowledge score of <48.0% among the participants indicated inadequate knowledge about physiotherapy practice, treatment modalities and specialties.
Conclusions: Participants in this study demonstrated a high level of awareness about physiotherapy. The knowledge level of the participants about the practice of physiotherapy, treatment modalities and specialties other than orthopedic remains inadequate. Professional body of Physiotherapy should create a detailed career talk in secondary school to increase the level of awareness and knowledge about the practice of physiotherapy, treatment modalities and specialties.

Keywords: Awareness, Career, Knowledge, Physiotherapy, Senior students


How to cite this article:
Bolarinde SO, Owoyemi TV, Obaya A, Nanimebila M. Awareness and perception of physiotherapy among senior students of selected secondary schools in a South-Western community of Nigeria. Indian J Phys Ther Res 2020;2:19-24

How to cite this URL:
Bolarinde SO, Owoyemi TV, Obaya A, Nanimebila M. Awareness and perception of physiotherapy among senior students of selected secondary schools in a South-Western community of Nigeria. Indian J Phys Ther Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 28];2:19-24. Available from: https://www.ijptr.org/text.asp?2020/2/1/19/288860




  Introduction Top


Physiotherapy is one of the health care professions concerned with the care of patients. Physiotherapy has been described as a dynamic health care profession with established theoretical and wide spread clinical application, in providing treatment to individuals in order to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout a person's lifespan.[1],[2]

Physiotherapy services are found in various health institutions, rehabilitation homes, private practice, schools, sports, work place settings and non-governmental organization and agencies where effective services are provided after thorough assessments of patient's condition following medical history review and physical examination.[3],[4] Physiotherapy services are employed in wide variety of disease conditions like musculoskeletal problems (joint pain, stiff shoulder, low back pain), neurological disorders (stroke, Parkinson, cerebral palsy), sport injuries (cruciate ligament injuries, shoulder impingement syndrome), geriatric problems, burn injuries and rehabilitation of patients in Intensive care unit.[5]

Physiotherapy being an internationally recognized health profession are practiced by qualified and, where required by state or national legislation, by duly registered or licensed physiotherapists.[6] Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who have undergone adequate and sufficient medical education to assess, treat and prevent dysfunction and impairments of movement in people of all ages and within a wide range of contexts.[7]

Training of physiotherapists in Nigeria started in 1966. Between 1966 and 1997, physiotherapy education was a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. However, in 1998, the curriculum in all universities was upgraded to a 5-year professional Bachelor of physiotherapy. Physiotherapy education in Nigeria has since moved beyond Bachelor awarding degree to Master and Doctor of Philosophies degree introduced in 1985 and 1997 respectively.[7],[8]

Information about various occupations and professions that are related to a desired field of study are often important to high school students when planning for future career.[9] Even though a few students have an idea about their future career pathways in advance, majority of them are uncertain about it. A majority of school children are also unaware about career opportunities open to them and most of them analyze their career prospects by looking at the social status of the occupation of their choice and the opportunities for career development.[10],[11]

In Nigeria, many of the high school students seem to know more about health professional courses like medicine, nurses and medical laboratory science than physiotherapy, hence the high rate of admission seekers into medicine profession compared to physiotherapy. In spite of over 50 years of physiotherapy education in Nigeria, with the introduction of physiotherapy training in many universities in the last few years, it appears that students and public awareness about physiotherapy as a career to pursue seems not to be adequate.

The aim of this study therefore, was to investigate the level of awareness regarding physiotherapy among senior secondary school students in a local government area of Nigeria.


  Materials and Methods Top


The cross-sectional survey recruited 259 senior secondary school students in basic 10,11and 12 classes ( first, second and third year of senior secondary education). They were drawn from three purposively selected secondary urban schools in Owo town, Owo local government area of Ondo-state, Nigeria (Fourabay Secondary School, Complete Child Development School and Owo High School). The schools were selected for having larger number of students within the community. Students with records of below average in academic performance were excluded from the study. The study protocol was approved by the Health Research Ethics Committee of Federal Medical Centre, Owo (FMC/OW/380/LIX/108). Approval was sought and obtained from the schools' authority before access to the students was achieved. The rationale behind the study was explained to all participants and informed consent was obtained before their participation. The survey instrument for the study was a four sectioned, self-administered questionnaire. Section A was on demographic profile, while section B was on awareness and source of information regarding physiotherapy. Section C sought information on knowledge about physiotherapy practise while section D was on physiotherapy as a career. The English version of the questionnaire was adapted since all the participants were literate in English language according to the previous similar study.[9]

Statistical analysis

Data obtained were summarized using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20.0 software (Nie, Bent and Hull; IBM 2009). Descriptive statistics of means, standard deviation, percentages and frequency table was used to present the results.


  Results Top


A total of 259 students participated in this study. 108 participants (41.7%) were males while 151 (58.3%) were females. Among these were 145 (56.0%) private school students and 114 (44.0%) were public school students. The age group with the highest frequency was 10–15 years (61.4%) followed by 16-20 years (37.8%). 83 (32.0%) were senior 1 class students, 88 (34.0%) senior 2 class students while 88 (34.0%) were senior 3 class students. Among these were 49 (33.8%) private school senior 1 class students, 54 (37.8%) private school senior 2 class students and 42 (28.4%) private school senior 3 class students. There were also 34 (30.4%) public school senior 1 class students, 34 (30.4%) public school senior 2 class students and 46 (39.2%) public school senior 3 class students. Demographic characteristics of participants is as shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographics characteristics of participants

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[Table 2] shows result on awareness and sources of information regarding physiotherapy among participants. The results showed that 71.0% (184) of the participants are aware and have heard of physiotherapy. The highest source of information about physiotherapy among the participants was school career talk 46 (17.8) followed by contact with medical personnel 29 (11.2%), friends/family members 22 (8.5%), visit to hospital 20 (7.7%), personal contact with physiotherapist 18 (7.0%), while radio and television 4 (1.5%) was the least source of information. Only 38.6% (100) of the participants had been informed about physiotherapy during career talk in their school while 56.0% (145) had never been told. 76.8% (199) of the participants were aware that physiotherapy can be studied in University while others believed it could be studied in polytechnic (3.9%), College of Education (6.6%) and technical schools (5.4%). 45.9% (199) knew about adequate subject combination for gaining admission to study physiotherapy in tertiary institution while 54.1% (140) did not know about adequate subject combination.
Table 2: Participants' awareness and sources of information about physiotherapy (n=259)

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[Table 3] shows the results on knowledge about physiotherapy practice. Greater proportion of the participants knew that physiotherapy is neither practiced by medical doctors 160 (61.8%) nor masseurs 236 (91.5%). 31.7% of the participants were aware of the utilization of gymnasium with exercising machines, gymnasium ball and other equipment, 3.5% electrical modalities. 30.9% manual treatments involving usage of bandages, tapes and splints while 3.5% knew about the utilization of a therapeutic pool (hydrotherapy).
Table 3: Participants' knowledge about physiotherapy services

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Regarding physiotherapy treatment, 16 (6.2%) knew that physiotherapy involves Manual therapy, 23 (8.9%) Ice/Heat therapy, 34 (13.1%) Hydrotherapy while 82 (31.7%) were aware of the use of electrotherapy and exercise therapy. Sixty-seven (25.9%) knew about the role of physiotherapy in musculoskeletal conditions, 51 (19.7%) neurological conditions, 13 (5.0%) Pediatric conditions and 5 (1.9%) chest conditions. 34.7% of the participants knew that physiotherapists work in government hospital, 22 (8.5%) private hospitals, 13 (5.0%) private clinics, 9 (3.5%) sport centers, and 1 (0.4%) nongovernmental organization (NGO).

[Table 4] shows the final scores on knowledge of participants about physiotherapy services. The questionnaire about knowledge of physiotherapy services contained 31 questions with a possible correct score of 31. The mean score for the knowledge of physiotherapy services among participants was 8.77 ± 2.0 with a minimum score of 5.0 and maximum score of 12.0 out of a possible score of 31.0. The overall scores were categorized into adequate knowledge, fair knowledge and inadequate knowledge. Adequate knowledge score ranged from 21.0 to 31.0 (>67%), fair knowledge score ranged from 15.0–20.0 (48% to 65%) and inadequate knowledge ranged from 0 to 14.0 (>47%). The result shows that 257 (99.2%) of the participants had inadequate knowledge about physiotherapy services.
Table 4: Knowledge about physiotherapy scores

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[Table 5] shows the responses of participants on chosen physiotherapy as a career. The result shows that 81.5% (211) of the participants desired to know more about physiotherapy as a career, 76.8% (199) would like to contact any physiotherapist to be more educated on physiotherapy while 54.8% (142) would like to study physiotherapy.
Table 5: Response of the participants concerning physiotherapy as a career

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  Discussion Top


This study assessed the awareness and perception of physiotherapy practice among senior secondary students in selected schools in Owo Local Government in Ondo-state. This study found a high level of awareness (71.0%) among the participants. It shows that majority have heard about physiotherapy. This finding is in line with the results of studies carried out by Olawale and Adjabeng and Maruf et al. where a large percentage were familiar with physiotherapy,[12],[13] however the result contradicts the findings by Igwesi-Chidobe[14] in which 85.2% of the participants have not heard about Physiotherapy in South-Eastern, Nigeria. The findings of this study show that, school career talk, contact with health professionals and visitation to hospitals are the major sources of information about physiotherapy among the participants while mass media was the least. This shows that the participants were not disposed to media information possibly due to academic work or use of smartphone games. However, the high level of awareness observed in this study may be attributed to increase in the level of publicity about physiotherapy over the past few years.

Findings on professional identity of physiotherapy in this study revealed that a larger percentage of the participants (91.5%) know that Physiotherapists are not masseurs which is a positive finding because Physiotherapists are often tagged as “masseurs” in this part of the country. This misconception might be due to the application of massage as treatment techniques in physiotherapy which appear to be similar to techniques used by “masseurs.”[15] Another positive finding from this study, is that a large percentage (61.8%) of participants are aware that Physiotherapy is not practiced by doctors, while 38.2% ascribed physiotherapy to doctors. This findings corroborated the report from the study carried out by Mbada et al., where only 30.8% considered a physiotherapist as a medical doctor.[15] This finding seems a positive finding because the general public cannot distinguish a medical doctors or dentists to physiotherapists due to the white coat syndrome[16] because the white coat has exclusively served as a dominant sign of physicians for over 100 years.[17]

Knowledge about physiotherapy equipment appears inadequate among the participants. Only 3.5% know about the use of electrical modalities and therapeutic pool, while about one third of the participants were aware of the utilization of gymnasium with exercising machines and ball as well as manual treatments using bandages, tapes and splints. A few number of participants (34.7%) in this study were aware that Physiotherapists work in a Government hospital but other places such as private clinics, private hospitals, sport centers and NGO were not fully recognized by the participants. These findings may be attributed to very few numbers of sport centers, low level of employment for physiotherapists in private hospitals and NGO in the country thereby making the general public associating a physiotherapist typical work environment to a government hospital.[12]

About one quarter of the participants were aware of the role of physiotherapy in musculoskeletal conditions which has the highest awareness followed by other sub-specialities like neurological conditions, pediatric conditions and chest conditions which has the lowest awareness by the participants (1.9%). This finding agrees with findings by previous studies where musculoskeletal conditions such as disorders of bones and joints were found to be the most known sub-specialty in physiotherapy.[10],[12],[13]

Findings from this study shows that all participants have inadequate knowledge about physiotherapy services as the participants had an average mean score of 8.77 ± 2.0 out of a possible total score of 31.0. This finding is supported the findings from the studies conducted by Mbada et al. and van Lieshout.[15],[18] The low level of knowledge about Physiotherapy services as observed in this study may be due to lack of information about the scope of physiotherapy practice, modalities for treatment and limited availability of physiotherapy centers in the study environment. The low socio-economic status of community dwellers and high level of belief and patronage given to traditional bone-setter following orthopedic injuries may have contributed to poor level of contact with physiotherapists which further makes the knowledge of physiotherapy services very slim among the community dwellers. In addition, the fact that physiotherapy practice as first contact is not common in Nigeria may also have limited the knowledge about Physiotherapy services among the general public.[13]

Findings from this study shows that more than half (56.0%) of the participants hav never been told about physiotherapy as a career by the school career educators, this may be the major reason why a large percentage of participants are interested to know more about Physiotherapy as a career in the health profession. The result also showed that more than half of the participants would love to pursue physiotherapy as a career later in future. This finding is in line with the findings by Maruf et al., where majority of the participants would like to be or would encourage their relative to be a physiotherapist.[13]


  Conclusions Top


Students in this study demonstrated a high level of awareness about physiotherapy. The knowledge level of the students about the practice of physiotherapy, treatment modalities and specialties other than orthopedic remains inadequate.

It is recommended that the professional body of Physiotherapy should create a detailed career talk in secondary school to increase the level of awareness and knowledge about the practice of physiotherapy, treatment modalities and specialties. Physiotherapy professionals should also use the mass media to create more awareness among the general public.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflict of interest.



 
  References Top

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Balogun JA, Mbada CE, Balogun AO, Okafor UA. Profile of physiotherapist educators from Anglophone West African Countries: A cross-sectional study. IJMHS 2016;3:99-109.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Thusharika D. Dissanayaka, Shayama Banneheka. Awareness in physiotherapy among high school students. IJSRP 2014;4:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Ogiwara S, Nozoe M. Knowledge of physiotherapy: A study of Ishikawa High School students. JPTS 2005;17:9-16.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Gotlib J, Bialoszewski D, Sierdinski J, Jarosz MJ, Majcher P, Borczyk K, et al. Comparison of the perception and aspirations of third year physiotherapy students trained in three educational settings in Poland. J Physiol 2010;96:30-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Olawale O, Adjabeng M. Awareness and Knowledge of Physiotherapy among the general public in an African market in Accra metropolis. Ghana. Indian J Phys Ther 2014;2:32-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Maruf F, Ekediegwu E, Akinpelu A, Nwankwo M. Awareness, belief, attitude and utilization of physiotherapy services in a Nigerian population. J Niger Soc Physiother 2012;20:26-34.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Igwesi-Chidobe C. Obstacles to obtaining optimal physiotherapy services in a rural community in Southeastern Nigeria. Rehab Res Prac 2012;10:1-8. [Doi: 10 1155/2012/909675].  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Mbada C, Ola-ojo J, Johnson E. Awareness, knowledge and perception of professional identity of physiotherapy among residents of three rural communities in Ife North local government, South West, Nigeria. Ghana J Phys 2015;6:1-14.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Loveday H, Wilson J, Hoffman P, Pratt R. Public perception and the social and microbiological significance of uniforms in the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections. Br J Infect Control 2007;8:10-21.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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Hochberg MS. The Doctor's white coat-an historical perspective. AMA J Ethics 2007;9:310-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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