Tensions living out professional values for physical therapists treating injured workers
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofQualitative health research
Health care services provided by workers’ compensation systems aim to facilitate recovery for injured workers. However, some features of these systems pose barriers to high quality care and challenge health care professionals in their everyday work. We used interpretive description methodology to explore ethical tensions experienced by physical therapists caring for patients with musculoskeletal injuries compensated by Workers’ Compensation Boards. We conducted in-depth interviews with 40 physical therapists and leaders in the physical therapy and workers’ compensation fields from three Canadian provinces and analyzed transcripts using concurrent and constant comparative techniques. Through our analysis, we developed inductive themes reflecting significant challenges experienced by participants in upholding three core professional values: equity, competence, and autonomy. These challenges illustrate multiple facets of physical therapists’ struggles to uphold moral commitments and preserve their sense of professional integrity while providing care to injured workers within a complex health service system.