Differences in Perceived Interprofessional Support Amongst Physical Therapists Practicing in Inpatient Settings


Interprofessional teamwork is essential in inpatient (IP) settings for optimal outcomes. Given the evolution of education and scope of practice for physical therapists (PTs), their ultimate value on an interprofessional team may be unrealized. The purpose of this study was to determine PTs perceptions of support from physicians/nurses in the PTs ability to practice to the full extent of their education and jurisdictional scope; i.e., practice at the top of their license (PTOL), in IP settings.


A 28-question survey was sent via listservs maintained by five sections of the American Physical Therapy Association. Responses from PTÕs practicing in IP settings were included. Data were analyzed using Qualtrics software.


262 responses were included. 25.2% (64) had a bachelorÕs (BS) as their entry-level PT degree, 32.7% (83) a masterÕs (MS) and 42.1% (107) a doctorate (DPT). The mean years of experience was 16.7 (+/- 11), with 29.8 for those with a BS, 19.2 for those with a MS, and 6.9 for those with a DPT (p<0.00001, between groups). 40.2% (102) were board-certified specialists. Specialist and non-specialists were not different based on experience (17.4 v 16.2, respectively, p=0.16). Of those with a BS, 34.4% strongly agreed* (SA) and 29.7% agreed (A) that physicians supported them to PTOL. For those with a MS, 21.0% SA* and 44.4% A. Of those with a DPT, 9.7% SA (*p=0.0009) and 37.9% A. Among those with a BS, 28.6% SA and 31.7% A that nurses supported them to PTOL. For those with a MS, 19.8% SA and 40.7% A. Of those with a DPT, 12.4% SA and 45.7% A. Differences were insignificant (p=0.28). Among board-certified specialists, 61.8% felt supported (27.5% SA*, 34.3% A) by physicians to PTOL. Of those that were not board-certified specialists, 54.8% felt supported (14.4% SA*, 40.4% A) by physicians to PTOL (*p=0.008). Additionally, 63.7% of the board-certified specialists perceived that they were supported (25.5% SA*, 38.2% A) by nurses to PTOL, compared to 56.5% of those that were not board-certified specialists (14.3 SA*, 42.2 A) (*p=0.04). There were no differences in perceptions of physician/nursing support based on practice setting.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

PTsÕ perception of support from physicians/nurses to PTOL in IP settings varies by entry-level degree and board-certification. PTs with a DPT did not feel as supported by physicians to PTOL when compared to PTs with a BS or MS. Differences in experience levels may contribute to this perception. PTs who are board-certified specialists perceived that physicians/nurses support them in PTOL compared to those who are not board-certified. Board-certified specialists may be viewed as possessing advanced skills beneficial to the team. Physicians/nurses may value the concept of specialization. There remains work to be done relative to the external perceived value of the DPT in IP settings

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  • Control #: 26449
  • Type: Poster Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Elsa Drevyn
  • Keywords:

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