Patient experience of expanded-scope-of-practice musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the emergency department: A qualitative study Academic Article uri icon


  • The increasing number of people presenting to hospital with musculoskeletal conditions places pressure on existing services, and has resulted in expanding the scope of practice of musculoskeletal physiotherapists working in emergency departments (ED). The aim of the present study was to qualitatively explore the perspectives of patients presenting with an isolated musculoskeletal condition seen by a musculoskeletal physiotherapist in the ED of two Australian hospitals situated in contrasting geographical locations.Semistructured interviews were conducted with nine participants from a major metropolitan hospital and 16 participants from a remote hospital. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using a thematic approach. RESULTS. The emerging themes from the two datasets were remarkably similar, so the final themes were merged. The major themes were: (1) participants were satisfied with the process and service provided by the physiotherapist; (2) the personal attributes of the physiotherapists were important to participants; (3) participant confidence in the skills and attributes of the physiotherapist made them a suitable alternative to a doctor in these situations; and (4) the timing and efficiency of the physiotherapy service was better than expected and valued.Participants from both settings described their experience in positive terms, reflecting satisfaction with their management by an expanded scope of practice musculoskeletal physiotherapist.


  • Harding, P
  • Prescott, J
  • Block, L
  • O'Flynn, AM
  • Burge, AT

publication date

  • 2015