Communication skills of professional physical therapists as assessed by physiotherapy students: A Cross-Sectional Study
Objective: The main objective of this study was to analyse if physical therapy students could identify emotions using the categorization system of the therapist's verbal behaviour (SISC-CVT).
Methods: The principal variable was the verbal behaviour of the physiotherapist and was coded using Frojá-Parga’s categorization system of the therapist's verbal behaviour (SISC-CVT). This system includes several different types of verbal behaviours: discriminative, evocative, reinforcement, punishment, informative, instructional, motivational. Recordings were performed during a first clinical session of seven different physiotherapists. The assessment tool (SISC-CVT) was applied by two physiotherapy students after viewing recordings of the sessions.
Results: Kappa values for inter-rater reliability were modest: very good (1), good (1), moderate (6), weak (7), and poor (2). The discriminative category was the most repeated with an average of 71.20 interventions per session followed by the reinforcement category with an average of 59.05 interventions per session. There was less frequency in the evocative category with an average of 4.4 interventions per session. The punitive category appeared twice for every first five clinical sessions.
Conclusions: Physiotherapy students could identify verbal behaviours using the SISC-CVT with moderate reliability and could identify differences between the observed physiotherapists. Of the eight categories included, three were the most frequently identified (discriminative, reinforcement, and informative). The implementation of this assessment tool could be an interesting strategy for learning communication skills. We encourage other researchers to continue exploring the verbal behaviour of physiotherapists.
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