Australian critical care nursing professionals' attitudes towards the use of traditional 'chest physiotherapy' techniques

Clint J. Newstead, Jack A Seaton, Catherine L Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Chest physiotherapy techniques, such as percussion, postural drainage, and expiratory vibrations, may be employed in a critical care setting. Physiotherapists are primarily responsible for their provision; however, nurses have also traditionally implemented these treatments. It is unclear whether nurses consider chest physiotherapy to be a part of their role, or how they perceive their knowledge and confidence pertaining to these
techniques. Objective: To investigate the attitudes of nurses towards traditional chest physiotherapy techniques. Method: A total of 1222 members of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Results: There were 142 respondents (12%) with the majority (n=132, 93%) having performed chest physiotherapy techniques in clinical practice. Most of them considered that the provision of chest physiotherapy was a part of nurse’s role. Commonly cited factors influencing nurses’ use of chest physiotherapy techniques were the availability of physiotherapy services, adequacy of nursing staff training and skill, and perceptions of professional roles.
Conclusions: Nurses working in critical care commonly utilised traditional chest physiotherapy techniques. Further research is required to investigate the reasons why nursing professionals might assume responsibility for the provision of chest physiotherapy techniques, and if their application of these techniques is consistent with evidence-based recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalHong Kong Physiotherapy Journal
Issue numberJune
Early online dateFeb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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