The factors affecting work readiness during the transition from university student to physiotherapist in Australia

Vidya Lawton*, Verity Pacey, Taryn M. Jones, Catherine M. Dean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Work readiness is an important aspect of the transition from higher education to professional practice. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of work readiness of individuals transitioning into physiotherapy practice in Australia and identify any association with personal, education and work factors. Design/methodology/approach: Purpose-built surveys were distributed to final-year students and graduates of physiotherapy programmes nationally. Work readiness was measured using the recently validated Work Readiness Scale for Allied Health Professionals 32 (WRS-AH32), which captures the following four domains: Practical Wisdom, Interpersonal Capabilities, Personal Attributes and Organisational Acumen. The surveys also included personal, education and work data. Work readiness was expressed as percentages for total work readiness and within each domain. Independent t-tests were used to examine the influence of personal, education and work factors on work readiness. Findings: 176 participant responses were analysed (84 students and 92 graduates). Total work readiness was 80% [standard deviation (SD)8], with Practical Wisdom the highest scoring domain (91%, SD8) and Personal Attributes the lowest scoring domain (65%, SD14). Considering overall work readiness, individuals reporting some psychological symptoms scored lower than asymptomatic individuals [mean difference 7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 4 to 9)] and final-year students scored less than graduates [mean difference 3% (95%CI 0 to 5)]. Practical implications: All stakeholders, including individuals, universities and employers, need to consider further strategies to develop aspects of work readiness, particularly within the domain of Personal Attributes and those with psychological symptoms. Originality/value: This study demonstrates that physiotherapy students and graduates perceive themselves to be well prepared to transition to the workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2024


  • Career transitions
  • Employability
  • Work readiness


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