Awareness of Physiotherapy Among Senior Secondary School Students: A Pilot Survey Study

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Published on International Journal of Health, Nursing, & Medicine
Publication Date: April 13, 2019

Saiwo O. E.
Asst. Director of Physiotherapy, Department of Physiotherapy
Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital
Kaduna, Nigeria

Journal Full Text PDF: Awareness of Physiotherapy Among Senior Secondary School Students: A Pilot Survey Study.

Background: Physiotherapy is a health care profession that plays a significant role in all levels of health. The senior secondary school students are potential candidates for Bachelor of Physiotherapy programme.
Objective: To study the awareness of Physiotherapy among senior secondary school students.
Materials and Methods: A survey was conducted using a questionnaire that was modified and adapted with permission from a similar study done by Thusharike D. Dissanyaka. Forty one questionnaires were administered to the science class senior secondary school students with Redeemers Secondary School, Angwa Rimi, Kaduna, Nigeria who participated in this study. Six of the questionnaires were returned invalid leaving thirty five students who completed the study. The completed questionnaires were analysed and interpreted.
Results: There was moderate awareness of physiotherapy among the students. However, most of them believed physiotherapy is practiced by doctors. They replied yes to seeing a physiotherapist when there is pain arising in any body part with or without a known cause as well as well as when you have fever or flu. The most known unit in physiotherapy is gym with exercise machines and that physiotherapy is mostly useful in musculoskeletal conditions with little knowledge on the other specialty areas.
Conclusion and Clinical Implication: Awareness of physiotherapy is not satisfactory. Effort should be geared towards increasing the knowledge of the profession especially among senior secondary school students.

Keywords: Physiotherapy, Awareness, Senior Secondary Students.

Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that is concerned with the development, promotion, preservation and restoration of optimal physical function. It is an essential part of the health and community/welfare services delivery systems providing services to individuals and populations to prevent diseases and disability by physical means. The profession is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life that incorporate a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids. Physiotherapy has emerged not only as an important medical and rehabilitative complement in health care delivery but also as a health profession with a vital therapeutic tool that employs defined scientifically-based protocols, and is an integral part of the treatment of most patients (American Physical Therapy Association, 1997; Odebiyi, Amazu, Akindele, Igwe & Olaogun, 2010). Physiotherapists practise independently of other health care/service providers as well as within interdisciplinary rehabilitation programmes. It is widely used in health institutions, private practices, schools, sports and work place settings (Hogue, 2005) involving interaction between the physical therapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers and communities, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists (World Confederation for Physical Therapy, 2017).
Physiotherapy as a profession has evolved over the years from general forms of physical therapies to specialized physiotherapy services in healthcare settings. In Nigeria system generally, students pursue the Physiotherapy course after their senior secondary class. The senior secondary class has various branches of studies such as Science, Art and Commercial Science. The students from science background are eligible to pursue health courses such as Medicine, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science and Nursing. It is essential for the senior secondary students to have appropriate knowledge about the above courses in order to select those courses as their career. In other words, the science based senior secondary students are the future Physiotherapists of Nigeria. It is important to them to have appropriate awareness and a positive attitude about the profession.
Despite the recognition and advances gained worldwide in physiotherapy, yet there are few researches done in Nigeria to evaluate the awareness of physiotherapy among senior secondary school students. The common myths prevailing among the people are physiotherapy treatment is commonly used in musculoskeletal conditions. Physiotherapist uses mainly electro-modalities. The above myths may under estimate the scope of the profession and practice. The availability of factual information about the profession is an influential factor in making career decisions. This study is hope to provide an insight about the awareness of Physiotherapy profession that will in turn helps the professionals to consider the means to increase the awareness of the profession.

MATERIALS: A survey was conducted using a questionnaire that was modified and adapted with permission from a similar study done by Thusharike D. Dissanyaka *. The questionnaire contained three parts, (parts A, B and C). Part A consisted of the demographic data of the participants including gender and grade. Part B consisted of seven close ended questions which had four sub questions under each. The questions assessed the awareness in physiotherapy as a career and as a treatment method in sports and other disease conditions. Each sub question contained three responses (yes, no and don’t know). Part C consisted of a close ended question with multiple responses to identify the source of information regarding the physiotherapy profession.
METHODOLOGY: Sampling method: Convenience sampling, Sample size: 41 senior secondary science students. Study location: Redeemers International Secondary School, Angwa Rimi, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Inclusion criteria: Second and third year, senior secondary Science students (Students who opted to study Physics, chemistry and Biology in senior secondary).
Exclusion criteria: Unwilling subjects and Non–Science based students.
PROCEDURE: Subjects’ participation was taken as consent to participate in the study. Questionnaires were distributed and received on the same day. Data were analysed with descriptive statistics of frequency and percentage.

Forty one questionnaires were distributed and only 35 were completed and returned. The results on the A part of the questionnaire is as presented in table 1 below.

The table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of the respondents. A total of 35 respondents with 17 (48.6%) males and 18 (51%) females participated in the study. Twenty three (65.7%) were in senior secondary two while twelve (34.3%) were in senior secondary three class.
The result on the overall awareness of the students about physiotherapy were analysed based on the response provided in the Part B of the questionnaire and is presented in table 2 below.

Table 2 presents that 91.4% of the participants informed that physiotherapy is practice by doctors but 82.9% are aware that physiotherapy is not a branch of acupuncture. 37.1% and 57.1% replied that physiotherapy is practice by masseurs and that it is an indigenous treatment method respectively. The awareness about the component of Physiotherapy unit is moderate. Many students believe Physiotherapy unit comprises of gymnasium with exercising machines (71.4%) followed by manual treatment, bandages, tapes and splints (54.3%). An average number 54.3% and 45.7% replied therapeutic pool and electrical modalities as components in Physiotherapy unit respectively. Many students are aware that physiotherapy services can be assessed in private clinics (82.9%) and private hospitals (68.6%), moderately (45.7%) at the government hospitals but only few (25.7) believed NGO involve physiotherapy services. Good awareness was noticed regarding Electrotherapy and Exercise therapy (80%) and Manual therapy (82.9%) as modes of treatment except Ice/Heat therapy and Hydrotherapy (37.1%). There was a very good awareness (>70) on when to meet a Physiotherapist including the role of Physiotherapy. Out of the listed specialities, the students believed physiotherapy is more needed in musculoskeletal conditions (65.7%), followed by Neurological conditions (45.7%) and then paediatrics (40%). The least is the chest conditions (25.7%).

3.1 Sources of information about physiotherapy
The sources of information about Physiotherapy are analysed based on the response provided in the Part C of the questionnaire of which the result is presented in table 3 below.

Table 3 presents television (51.4%) as the most common source of information followed by films (42.9%) and health fair (42.9%). Some of the students got the information through a
friend (34.3%), internet (28.6%) teacher (28.6%), newspapers/magazines (22.9% books (22.9%), and visit to a physiotherapy schools/hospital (20%). The least source of information were career information resources (17.1%), family physician (14.3%) Career literature / pamphlets (11.4%), volunteer or work experience (8.6%) subject who were clients of physiotherapy (8.6%) radio (5.7%) friend is a physiotherapist (2.9%).