Background: Professional associations (PAs) are perceived to promote their professions and support their members. Despite these advantages, about 1 in 3 Australian chiropractors choose not to belong to either of the two PAs. Our study had two objectives: 1) to explore the views of non-member chiropractors about PAs in general; 2) seek to understand the motivations of non-member Australian chiropractors about not joining a PA.
Methods: This qualitative descriptive study utilised in-depth semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions for thematic analysis and was conducted from January to April 2020. Nine participants were interviewed before no new themes were articulated. Participants had to be registered chiropractors who had not been members of a PA for at least three years. Recruitment was through a Facebook advertisement and snowball sampling. Interviews were transcribed and imported into NVivo qualitative analysis software, allowing identification of key concepts surrounding non-membership of chiropractic PAs.
Results: Five themes were identified. 1) A tarnished image, suggested the profession has a poor standing in the eyes of the public and other health professionals. 2) Not worth the money, expressed the annual membership dues were not viewed as good value for money. 3) Going it alone / what’s in it for me? indicated there was no direct benefit or anything deemed essential for practice. 4) Two warring factions, reflected not wanting to be seen to be part of the internal conflict between conservative and evidence-based practitioners. 5) Lack of visibility, described no visible presence or strong communication that clearly displayed the advantages of membership.
Conclusions: Non-members are looking for PAs to enhance the respectability of the profession in a manner that ultimately results in increased patient volume and the provision of readily accessible day-to-day resources and information. These results can inform the construction of a survey for the broader chiropractic non-membership community to confirm and expand upon these findings and potentially improve PAs.
Author keywords: Chiropractic — Barriers — Professional associations — Facilitators — Qualitative research
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