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Physiotherapy students’ preferences regarding their future employment and factors influencing employment decisions: A mixed methods study (What WorX)

Recruiting physiotherapists and timely filling vacancies are challenging for inpatient healthcare facilities. Understanding potential applicants’ preferences regarding future employment is crucial for making job offers and work conditions more attractive.

Physiotherapy Research and Development
Term: 08.01.2024 — 31.05.2026

In the coming years, a growing shortage of workforce is predicted in the field of allied health professionals. As physiotherapists make up about 44% of all MTD professionals, the shortage in this group will therefore be the most obvious in terms of numbers. Freelance work is the most common form of employment among Austrian physiotherapists. International studies also show that working in private practices is more common than working in clinics. These data pose a particular challenge for inpatient healthcare facilities in filling or refilling vacant physiotherapy positions. Creating attractive career paths and aligning work conditions with the needs of graduates seems crucial to enhance the attractiveness of working in inpatient healthcare settings. The project aims to explore preferences regarding future employment of final-year physiotherapy students and identify factors influencing employment decisions. Using a mixed-methods design physiotherapy students at the FH Gesundheitsberufe OÖ in their last semester will be asked to participate in an online survey. Subsequently, in-depth qualitative interviews with approximately 15 students will be conducted. The results can be used by healthcare facility human resource management to potentially optimize employment conditions in the field of physiotherapy. Additionally, the results may guide adaptations within the physiotherapy study programme to better meet requirements posed by health service providers.

This research project is carried out in cooperation with Klinikum Wels-Grieskirchen and OÖ Gesundheitsholding.