An argument for competency-based training in pelvic floor physiotherapy practice

Helena C. Frawley, Patricia Neumann, Clare Delany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Pelvic floor dysfunction has been described as “a silent epidemic,” affecting many people in the community yet under-recognized and insufficiently managed. There is evidence that pelvic floor physiotherapy can manage many of these disorders, however a competency framework to guide and inform pelvic floor physiotherapy training and practice is lacking. The assessment and management of the pelvic floor complex is not addressed as a core component of most entry-to-practice physiotherapy programs despite being within the scope of physiotherapy practice which is in contrast with the knowledge and skills that physiotherapists graduate with in core areas of clinical practice. This results in a registration-competency gap, and the need for post-graduation training to ensure clinicians are appropriately skilled to practice safely and effectively in this area. In addition, there are potential ethical and legal issues unique to this area of physiotherapy practice to be considered. We use a series of clinical scenarios to highlight the domains of knowledge, skills and communication required for practice in this area, based on our experience in Australia. We propose a framework for the future which defines competence in pelvic floor physiotherapy to provide clarity to clinicians about their clinical, ethical and legal obligations to the public, our referrers and third-party payers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1130
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


  • Competency
  • intimate examination
  • pelvic floor
  • physiotherapy practice

Cite this