Perceptions of New Graduate Chiropractors in Their Management of Paediatric Patients in the eThekwini Municipality

  •  Tarryn Miranda Frederick    
  •  Desiree Varatharajullu    
  •  Maureen Nokuthula Sibiya    


The aim of the study was to assess the perceptions of new graduate chiropractors in their management of paediatric patients in the eThekwini Municipality. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive research design was utilised for this study. A purposive sample of 10 new graduate chiropractors in the eThekwini Municipality were interviewed. Data was collected utilising semi-structured interviews. The collected data was then stored electronically and transcribed. The transcripts were then coded and analysed by the researcher to identify categories and subcategories. The coded data was thereafter interpreted, using the themes and sub-themes identified. Four main themes were identified in the study, namely self-perception of confidence, knowledge and skill in paediatric patient management; exposure and training received in the chiropractic course; challenges encountered in paediatric patient management; and further enhancement of paediatric patient management. New graduate chiropractors expressed a lack of confidence and competence with regards to their management of the paediatric population, which was found to correlate with their lack of exposure to paediatric patients during the chiropractic paediatric curriculum in the course. Participants stated that their lack of exposure to this patient group negatively impacted on their diagnostic ability, orthopaedic assessment and treatment of paediatric patients. Participants identified areas of improvement in the chiropractic paediatric curriculum. Methods to enhance paediatric assessment and management were then discussed further. The findings of this study indicate that lack of exposure to paediatric patients prior to private practice was a key factor that negatively impacted on a new graduate’s confidence to assess, treat and manage paediatrics.

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