BACKGROUND/AIM: Occupational therapists and physiotherapists have established roles in work-related practice. However, there is limited information about the attributes required by these professions for competent practice in this field. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the research literature to determine the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours required by occupational therapists and physiotherapists, including new graduates, in work-related practice.
METHODS: A systematic search was conducted of standard databases using keywords and phrases. All types of studies and reports were included from empirical research to descriptive reports. Included literature was appraised by standard critical appraisal tools by two reviewers. Words, phrases or themes related to the attributes required for work practice were manually extracted and a meta-synthesis conducted.
RESULTS: Seven observational studies, six professional practice guidelines, one book chapter, one journal editorial and seven opinion pieces met the inclusion criteria. Observational studies and descriptive reports were low on the evidence hierarchy. Meta-synthesis determined that key attributes required by occupational therapists and physiotherapists in work-related practice were knowledge of injury prevention and management, skills in communication, and professional behaviours of self-reflection and evaluation.
CONCLUSION: Findings from this systematic review provided credible evidence about attributes required by occupational therapists and physiotherapists but not including new graduates, in work-related practice. However, due to low evidence levels findings will need to be applied with caution. More rigorous research is needed to evaluate occupational therapy and physiotherapy workplace interventions to guide practice and to assist occupational therapists and physiotherapists promote the effectiveness of their services.