Private speech-language therapy practices in Aotearoa – New Zealand. (2018)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Demographic and service provision information about speech-language therapists (SLTs) working in private practice in Aotearoa – New Zealand is limited. However, anecdotal reports suggest that the number of private practitioners appears to be increasing throughout the country. Apart from publically-available information related to the marketing of their services, no additional information was found to describe the demographics of this population, the services they provide or their perceived professional needs. Speech-language therapists working in private practice in Aotearoa – New Zealand were invited to participate in this study. A survey was developed and distributed electronically to SLTs working in private practice in Aotearoa – New Zealand. An estimated 150 clinicians had access to the survey. The survey consisted of both open and closed questions related to personal and practice demographics; professional supports and needs; knowledge and experience of evidence-based practice, and an open entry response. Forty-nine SLTs responded to the survey. Data was collated and analysed according to response type. A small selection of respondents (n=4) participated in follow-up interviews designed to further explore discussion points identified through the survey. Interview data was transcribed and analysed thematically. Findings suggested that SLTs working in private practice form a notable section of the speech-language therapy workforce. A wide variety of demographic information was reported. For example, only 2% of SLTs participating in this study identified as male and only one participant stated to be Māori. In Aotearoa – New Zealand, SLTs do not have to be registered with the national professional association (New Zealand speech-language therapists’ association; NZSTA). As a result, there are limited guidelines for, and oversight of the services offered by SLTs in private practice. Although respondents indicated that they understand evidence-based practice, most received minimal formal training in this area. Participants also reported a number of professional needs such as increased networking with other SLTs, including those working in the public sector.
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