Working as a physiotherapist in a rapid response team: “An emotional Rollercoaster”

Rosalie Barrett, Clair Hebron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) are multidisciplinary, ‘hospital at home’ services which have developed over the last 10 years, aiming to improve recovery from illness more efficiently, prevent unnecessary hospital admission, and prevent early admission to residential care. However, little is known about the experience of professionals working in these roles.

The aim of this study was to explore how working in an RRT is experienced and perceived by physiotherapists.

This study used phenomenographically inspired methodology. Six participants who were working in RRTs were recruited to this study and all were working in the South of England. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews, and phenomenographic analysis was undertaken.

Participants working in RRTs described a range of varied, concrete lived-through experiences in addition to a more rhetorical discussion of how they conceptualized their work. Six main categories of description were generated from the analysis; each was assigned a metaphor. These included ‘the detective,’ ‘the guru,’ ‘the lone ranger,’ ‘the team player,’ ‘the bricoleur,’ and ‘an emotional rollercoaster’; all categories were present with varied meanings. ‘An emotional rollercoaster’ was present within and throughout participants’ descriptions of all other categories.

This study provides valuable insights into physiotherapists’ experience and conceptualization of working within this discipline, which may have implications for physiotherapy practice, workforce development, new and current RR physiotherapy services, RRT health professionals, and physiotherapy education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to warmly thank the physiotherapists who kindly agreed to take part in this study and shared the experiences of their practice. The research was funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) as part of a funded MRes completed at Brighton University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Physiotherapist
  • rapid response team
  • emerging roles
  • experience
  • perception
  • phenomenography
  • qualitative research


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