There is a lot of poor qualitative research out there. Recently I reviewed an article in which the authors had spent three years studying people's experiences of chronic pain. They didn't identify any particular philosophy guiding their analysis, they just interviewed seven people and, somehow, came up with three 'themes': that pain was unpleasant; that it was aversive (something to be avoided); and it disrupted their lives. This is a good example of bad qualitative research. And there is a simple test you can apply if ever you're in doubt. All you need to do is to ask whether the research tells you anything you didn't already know. This study took three years, but told us … [Read more...] about Patient work
What does work mean to physiotherapists? A recent article in the journal Qualitative Health Research highlighted some of the different meanings of work for 12 women with cancer (link). One of the most interesting findings from the study was that there were many different kinds of work experienced by the women, including “illness work, body work, identity work, everyday work, paid employment and/or the work of maintaining income, and coordination work”. When you include things like the work of breathing and professional work, you have a concept that is both at the heart of physiotherapy practice, and yet almost entirely un-theorised. Work has a particularly interesting history, … [Read more...] about Different kinds of work
On January 1st I left my three-year secondment looking after a team of psychology and psychotherapy lecturers and returned to my old home in the clinical sciences. And a big part of my new work will be trying to prepare our graduates for a future that is increasingly uncertain and unfamiliar. For some years now, there's been an increasing interest in the future of professions like law, accountancy, journalism, and medicine, with a whole swathe of books being published recently trying to anticipate how we'll need to adapt to the rapid rise of digital technologies. There is little doubt that artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and robotics are going to radically … [Read more...] about Is physiotherapy a bullshit job?
One of the most enjoyable things about in the Critical Physiotherapy Network is the license it gives you to ask questions about the profession that other people might find ridiculous. There's a long history of the study of stupidity and idiocy in philosophy (see Shaw 2016, for example), and I'd like to think we make some small contribution to that with our Network. Look at our Objectives and you will see that it is part of our constitution to develop 'a culture & appreciation for the exploration of all views that deviate from conventional thought & practice in physiotherapy' (Object #4, link). So in the spirit of asking ridiculous questions, I'll confess that for some time now … [Read more...] about Why do things need to work?
CPN Exec member Alma Viviana Silva frequently translates blogposts into Spanish for us. Here she has translated the recent post Fit for physiotherapy? (link to original) Huge thanks go to Viviana for this. Over time, we hope to be able to offer blogposts in many other languages to reach beyond the limits of the anglophone world, so if you would like to help out translating the odd post into Norwegian, Mandarin, Urdu or another language, please get in touch. p.s. you can find 12 different translations of the CPN's Constitution here . Es esto apto para la fisioterapia? Tal vez uno de los mayores desafíos que enfrenta la profesión de fisioterapia en el futuro no será si se … [Read more...] about Fit for physiotherapy (Spanish)?
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing the physiotherapy profession in the future will not be whether it can secure the necessary economic and political support to remain at the forefront of physical medicine, but whether it wants to take what's on offer. Throughout its history, physiotherapy has benefited from world events that have consolidated the profession's relationship with the State, the public, and the medical profession (think here of the growth in the profession's size and status as a result of World War I, the polio epidemics, the birth of the welfare state, etc.). But these have all nurtured our image as a caring profession in service of the entire population. Health … [Read more...] about Fit for Physiotherapy?
A lot of really interesting attempts to change the way health care is being delivered are foundering because people can't work out how to fund them. There are certain pockets of money available: seed grants and step-change funds that get projects started, but often these are term-limited and there is rarely any chance of ongoing funding. One of the unspoken principles underpinning a lot of new models of health care (including primary care, health promotion, inter professional practice, patient-centred care), is that they will cost less, (or at least they will shift the responsibility for payment onto the individual and away from the state.) But few people have yet worked out ways to … [Read more...] about New: Money