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Physical therapy students' willingness to report misconduct to protect the patient's interests
  1. Abraham Mansbach1,
  2. Yaacov G Bachner2,
  3. Itzik Melzer3
  1. 1Department of Philosophy and Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  2. 2Department of Sociology of Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  3. 3Physical Therapy Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abraham Mansbach, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, POB 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel; mansbach{at}


This article presents a study on the ethical dilemma of whistleblowing in physical therapy, and suggests some lines for further research on this topic as well as ways for integrating it in the physical therapy curriculum. The study examines the self-reported willingness of physical therapy students to report misconduct, whether internally or externally, to protect the patient's interests. Internal disclosure entails reporting the wrongdoing to an authority within the organisation. External disclosure entails reporting the offence to an outside agency, such as the police, professional organisation, or press. The findings indicate that the students view the acts that are detrimental or cause injustice to the patient in a very serious light. In dilemma situations such as these, the students reported a willingness to act. The students also report considerably greater likelihood of whistleblowing internally than externally. The pattern reveals a desire to correct the misconduct coupled with a marked decline in the willingness to blow the whistle as this act moved from the workplace to an external authority.

  • Applied and professional ethics
  • education/programmes
  • ethical dilemma
  • misconduct
  • physical therapy
  • professional misconduct
  • truth disclosure
  • whistleblowing

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  • Funding The study was funded by the Israeli Science Foundation (grant no 108/05).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the curriculum committee of the Physical Therapy Department of Ben-Gurion University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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