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Physiother Can. 2015 Aug;67(3):221-31. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2014-53.

Mapping the Physiotherapy Profession in Saskatchewan: Examining Rural versus Urban Practice Patterns.

Author information

School of Physical Therapy; Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture.
School of Physical Therapy.
School of Physical Therapy; Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


in English, French


People living in rural and remote regions need support to overcome difficulties in accessing health care. The objectives of the study were (1) to compare demographic characteristics, professional engagement indicators, and clinical characteristics between physiotherapists practising in rural settings and those practising in urban settings and (2) to map the distribution of physiotherapists in Saskatchewan.


This cross-sectional study used de-identified data collected from the 2013 Saskatchewan College of Physical Therapists membership renewal (n=643), linked with the Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association's (SPA) 2012 membership list and a list of physiotherapists who had served as clinical instructors. Employment location (rural vs. urban) was determined by postal code.


Only 11.2% of Saskatchewan physiotherapists listed a rural primary employment location, and a higher density of physiotherapists per 10,000 people work in health regions with large urban centres. Compared with urban physiotherapists, rural physiotherapists are more likely to provide direct patient care, to provide care to people of all ages, and to have a mixed client level, and they are less likely to be SPA members.


Rural and urban physiotherapists in Saskatchewan have different practice and professional characteristics. This information may have implications for health human resource recruitment and retention policies as well as advocacy for equitable access to physiotherapy care in rural and remote regions.


health services accessibility; manpower; rural health

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