Clinical reasoning of Filipino physical therapists: Experiences in a developing nation

Esmerita R. ROTOR, Catherine Mamaid CAPIO

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Clinical reasoning is essential for physical therapists to engage in the process of client care, and has been known to contribute to professional development. The literature on clinical reasoning and experiences have been based on studies from Western and developed nations, from which multiple influencing factors have been found. A developing nation, the Philippines, has distinct social, economic, political, and cultural circumstances. Using a phenomenological approach, this study explored experiences of Filipino physical therapists on clinical reasoning. Ten therapists working in three settings: 1) hospital; 2) outpatient clinic; and 3) home health were interviewed. Major findings were: a prescription-based referral system limited clinical reasoning; procedural reasoning was a commonly experienced strategy while diagnostic and predictive reasoning were limited; factors that influenced clinical reasoning included practice setting and the professional relationship with the referring physician. Physical therapists’ responses suggested a lack of autonomy in practice that appeared to stifle clinical reasoning. Based on our findings, we recommend that the current regulations governing PT practice in the Philippines may be updated, and encourage educators to strengthen teaching approaches and strategies that support clinical reasoning. These recommendations are consistent with the global trend toward autonomous practice. Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date25 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Rotor, E. R., & Capio, C. M. (2018). Clinical reasoning of Filipino physical therapists: Experiences in a developing nation. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 34(3), 181-193. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2017.1390802


  • Clinical reasoning
  • Clinical decision making
  • Filipino
  • Physical therapy


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