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Physiother Can. 2014 Winter;66(1):74-80. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2013-05.

Excelling in the role of advocate: a qualitative study exploring advocacy as an essential physiotherapy competency.

Author information

  • Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.


in English, French


To explore the perspectives of leading advocates regarding the attributes required for excelling in the advocate role as described within the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada (2009).


We used a descriptive qualitative design involving in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with leading Canadian advocates within the physiotherapy profession. Transcribed interviews were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis.


The 17 participants identified eight attributes necessary for excelling in the role of advocate: collaboration, communication, scholarly practice, management, professionalism, passion, perseverance, and humility. The first five attributes correspond to roles within the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada. Participants identified the attributes of collaboration, communication, and scholarly practice as the most important for successful advocacy. Participants also noted that the eight identified attributes must be used together and tailored to meet the needs of the advocacy setting.


Identifying these eight attributes is an important first step in understanding how competence in the advocate role can be developed among physiotherapy students and practitioners. Most importantly, this study contributes to the knowledge base that helps physiotherapists to excel in advocating for their clients and the profession.


competency-based education; patient advocacy; professional competence

[Available on 2015/1/1]
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