The aim of this study was to investigate the opinions of final-year Canadian physiotherapy students of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy (CRP) and the factors influencing their decision about whether to pursue a career in CRP. This was achieved through a cross-sectional online survey was completed by final-year Master of Science of Physical Therapy students from three of the largest English-speaking physiotherapy schools in Canada.
A total of 120 students responded to the survey (overall response rate was 44%). Fifteen students (12.5%) responded that they were extremely or quite interested in specializing in CRP. The most common factors that positively influenced students’ decision to consider specializing in CRP were job accessibility, potential salary, and experiences in the area, and the most common factors that negatively influenced their decision were the clinical aspects of the area, their experiences in the area, job accessibility, and the influence of others. The most common factors that positively influenced students’ opinion of CRP were their clinical supervisor, educator, or lecturer; their own clinical experience; and evidence in the literature, and the most common factors that negatively influenced their opinion were their own clinical experience and their peers.
Strategies focusing on increasing awareness of the role of physiotherapists in the care of patients with cardiorespiratory conditions, exposing students to the positive impact that physiotherapists have in this practice area, and good mentorship experiences may promote the attractiveness of this specialty.