Bridgen, Andy and Smith, S. (2008) Perceptions of Podiatrists and Physiotherapists Working Together in the Musculoskeletal Service. Podiatry Now, 11 (10). pp. 23-30. ISSN 1460-731X

Physiotherapists and podiatrists are working closer together in musculoskeletal services than ever before. This study aimed to look at the role of each profession within the musculoskeletal team, issues of role overlap and professional boundaries and the effects of working together has had on their practice. Their opinion was also sought on the future of both their role and the musculoskeletal team.

The study was a qualitative design using a hermeneutic approach. There were four participants, two from each profession, who work closely with the other profession. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and a focus group.

The findings from the study were wide ranging. All participants enjoyed working together and felt this had improved patient care. They value a team approach based on equal status and appreciation of skills between the professions. Blurred boundaries and areas of role overlap exist between the professions. Government initiatives are treated with mistrust and are seen as attempts to undermine the professions’ current role and status. Consequently there is a resistance to change of role. Conflict with the medical profession and the Allied Health Professions was uncovered. Interprofessional education was initially seen as having little value, but the participants did agree that it could be beneficial for producing effective team workers.

Further research is needed in this area as this is a small study and the findings may not be representative of a larger population.

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