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'Oh my gosh I'm going to have to undress': Potential barriers to greater ethnic diversity in the physiotherapy profession in the United Kingdom

Yeowell, G (2013) 'Oh my gosh I'm going to have to undress': Potential barriers to greater ethnic diversity in the physiotherapy profession in the United Kingdom. Physiotherapy (United Kingdom), 99 (4). pp. 323-327. ISSN 0031-9406

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the views and experiences of South Asian participants in relation to the potential barriers to increasing ethnic diversity of the physiotherapy profession. Design: A qualitative research design was utilised, drawing on ethnographic traditions and including ethnographic interviews. The interviews were transcribed and the data were analysed using thematic analysis. Setting: A venue of the participant's own choosing in the North west of England. Participants: •Five, Muslim female parents; who came to the UK from Pakistan.•Two black and minority ethnic (BME) undergraduate physiotherapy students; one female and one male. They described their ethnicity as: British Indian and British Pakistani.•Three BME female physiotherapy clinicians. They described their ethnicity as Indian and British Pakistani. Findings: From analysis of the data generated, three subthemes emerged in relation to the overarching theme; potential barriers: decreased knowledge of physiotherapy; issue of status; tension between cultures. Conclusions: It appears that a lack of knowledge may impact negatively on BME potential students considering physiotherapy as a possible career. The status of the profession was found to be an important factor in career choice. However, a lack of knowledge led many to consider physiotherapy to be less prestigious than other healthcare professions. Finally, a lack of sensitivity with the information given during the selection process caused some participants anxiety and to question physiotherapy as a career choice. Due consideration should be given to these potential barriers to address the underrepresentation of BME groups in physiotherapy. © 2013 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

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