The impact of Professional Boundaries for Health Professionals (PBHP) training on knowledge, comfort, experience, and ethical decision-making: a longitudinal randomized controlled trial
Patricia Fronek, Melissa B. Kendall
Purpose: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the impact of Professional Boundaries for Health Professionals (PBHP) training program on the knowledge, comfort, experience, and ethical decision-making of multidisciplinary practitioners facing client–practitioner boundary dilemmas.
Methods: In all, 36 rehabilitation practitioners from an Australian state-wide spinal cord injuries service were assigned to experimental and control groups. The Boundaries in Practice (BIP) Scale measured outcomes at four points: pre, post, 3 months, and 1 year. The control group received the training after 3 months. Nonparametric Friedman’s two-way analysis of variance was used to examine the trajectories over time.
Results: Analysis was conducted using the data of 10 experimental and 13 control group participants who responded at four data collection points. The experimental group showed significant improvement in knowledge (χ2 = 10.673, p = 0.014) and comfort (χ2 = 9.727, p = 0.021) managing professional boundaries post-training. The control group showed no significant change in knowledge or comfort. No significant change was seen in experience across either experimental (χ2 = 3.609, p = 0.307) or control group (χ2 = 7.800, p = 0.050). Ethical decision-making improved in the control group (χ2 = 13.188, p = 0.004) following training, however remained unchanged in the experimental group.
Conclusions: The findings do not definitively support this training approach. Ethical decision-making may improve more substantially within the practice context and organizational culture change. Multifaceted approaches are indicated.