Blowing the whistle to protect a patient: a comparison between physiotherapy students and physiotherapists. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Abstract Objectives To answer three questions: Are physiotherapists and physiotherapy students willing to take action to prevent misconduct in order to protect a patient's interests? Are they willing to report the misconduct to authorities within an organisation and/or outside of it? Are they willing to report a colleague's wrongdoing as well as that of a manager? Design Observational questionnaire study. Participants Two hundred and twenty-seven participants divided into two groups: 126 undergraduate students at the Department of Physical Therapy at Ben Gurion University, and 101 certified physiotherapists working in hospitals and rehabilitation centres in south and central regions of Israel. Outcome measures Participants were presented with two vignettes – one describing a colleague's misconduct and the other describing a manager's misconduct – and asked to make a decision about whistleblowing. Results Both groups rated their own willingness to take action to change the harmful situations very highly. The physiotherapists perceived a colleague's misconduct as being more serious than the students, and were more willing to intervene internally. The students were more prepared than the physiotherapists to take such action externally. The students perceived the manager's misconduct as being more serious than the physiotherapists, and also reported a greater readiness to intervene externally. Conclusions Physiotherapists consider acts that are detrimental to a patient to be very serious, and are more willing to take action when the offending individual is a colleague. Students are more willing to blow the whistle externally. This article suggests tools for handling similar situations.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012