Purpose: There is a growing call around the world to include professionalism in the entry-level education of physical therapists and to teach professionalism as a continuing education professional development workshop for practicing physical therapists. Unfortunately, there is currently no empirical evidence to support the use of didactic instruction to effectuate a change in the knowledge and attributes of professionalism. This study evaluated the effects of a customized professionalism educational intervention on physical therapists’ knowledge and attributes of professionalism.

Methods: A quasi-experimental research was conducted among 47 Nigerian physical therapists (Mean age = 41 ± 10.1 years). The educational intervention consisted of a 3-hour classroom lecture and five case studies on professionalism. The impact of the intervention was evaluated by a Professionalism Inventory that assesses the level of knowledge and attributes of professionalism - clinical competence, a spirit of inquiry, accountability, autonomy, advocacy, innovation and visionary, collegiality and collaboration, and ethics and value.

Results: Post intervention, the physical therapist's aggregate knowledge of professionalism score improved significantly from 69% to 77% performance level (t = 2.340; p < 0.05). On the contrary, there was no significant difference in the aggregate attributes of professionalism score following the intervention (t = 1.396, p > 0.05). Although the improvement observed in the aggregate attributes of professionalism score was not statistically significant, when the effects of the intervention were examined on the attributes of professionalism subscales, the results revealed that clinical competence, accountability, autonomy, innovation and visionary, and collaborating and collegiality improved significantly (p < 0.05). The intervention was of small practical significance (Cohen d = .34 and .20 for knowledge and attributes of professionalism scores, respectively).

Conclusions: It was inferred from the findings that a three-hour classroom instruction consisting of lectures and case studies presentation could improve the knowledge of professionalism of practicing physical therapists. A longer instructional period vis-à-vis mentoring and role modelling in the classroom may be needed to effectuate a practical change in professionalism.

Author Bio(s)

Joseph A. Balogun, PT, PhD, FACSM, FNSP, FAS, FRSPH, is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Health Studies, College of Health Sciences, Chicago State University, U.S.A; jbalogun@csu.edu

Chidozie E. Mbada, PT, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; doziembada@yahoo.com.

Adetutu O. Balogun, OTR/L, M Ed., OTD, is an Adjunct Professor in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Brown Mackie College, Indiana, USA; adetutubalogun@aol.com

Udoka A. Okafor, PT, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in the Physiotherapy Department, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria; udochris@yahoo.com.


We are grateful to the physiotherapists who assisted with data collection in this study - Mr. Ojetola Kayode, Mrs. Olabisi Akinwande, Mr. John Omole, and Mr. Emmanuel Fashote, Drs. Taofeek Awotidebe and Olumide Dada





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