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Perceived Confidence to Interpret Diagnostic Imaging: The Bahamian Physiotherapists’ Perspective

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Objective: This study explored Bahamian physiotherapists’ perception of the usefulness of radiologic imaging in physiotherapy practice and evaluated their self-reported level of confidence in viewing and interpreting these images. The associations among their academic qualifications, sector of practice and confidence were also examined.

Methods: Ethical approval was granted by the University Hospital of the West Indies (UWI/FMS) Ethics Committee and the local hospitals in Nassau, Bahamas. Practicing physiotherapists were invited to participate. Physiotherapy interns, retired physiotherapists and workers designated as physiotherapy assistants/aids were excluded. Only the physiotherapists who gave their consent participated in the study.

Results: There was a 75% response rate. Most of the respondents held the Bachelor of Science degree in physiotherapy as their highest academic qualification. The respondents agreed that it is essential for physiotherapists to know how to view and interpret medical imaging. The majority of them reported confidence in interpreting plain X-rays (97%, n = 29). Those with
postgraduate qualifications were likely to report greater confidence. Those in private practice were more likely to report confidence with computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), and bone scans while those in public practice were most likely to be more confident with X-rays. Most of the respondents expressed a need for more training in the viewing and interpretations of neurological imaging (86.7%, n = 26), US (50%, n = 15), MRI (63.3%, n = 19), and CT scans (43.3%, n = 13).

Conclusion: Overall, the results demonstrated that physiotherapists in the Bahamas perceived it essential for physiotherapists to know how to view and interpret medical imaging and that their confidence in interpreting such imaging varied. The 30 physiotherapists expressed the need for further training of physiotherapists.

07 Dec, 2015
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e-Published: 29 Mar, 2016
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