Author(s): Greenfield BH
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Abstract Caring has been identified as a desirable indicator of professional behavior in the physical therapy profession and as a necessary value for good patient care. Yet caring is an elusive concept with multiple meanings. The present aim was to describe the nature of caring in the clinical practice of five experienced physical therapists. Purposive sampling was used to recruit five experienced physical therapists. Each physical therapist underwent a series of in-depth, open-ended interviews that were transcribed and coded for themes based on similarities and differences. The analysis resulted in three themes: ethics of caring, risks and conflicts of caring, and learning to care. The data indicated for four of the five participants that caring constituted an ethics of practice or moral orientation. Their moral orientation influenced moral judgment that was integrated throughout their clinical and ethical decision-making practice. The findings stress the difficulty of caring in a managed care health care environment that results in conflicting demands for physical therapists to care for their patients in a system that increasingly values cost control and profit margin. However, the findings also describe the ultimate rewards associated with the practice of an ethics of caring in physical therapy practice.
This article was published in Physiother Theory Pract
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics