Knowledge, use, and perceptions of metaphors among allied health faculty

Ashley H. Gess, Francesco Beltrame, Eleonora Brivio, Vincenzo Tagliasco, Vahe Heboyan, Gianluca De Leo, Marika D'Oria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Allied health professionals spend a considerable amount of time listening to and communicating with patients while providing care. The inclusion of appropriate communication skills as a part of the core curriculum for allied health professions is crucial. Metaphorical representations are used by both patients and healthcare providers when communicating. Patients express their symptoms using metaphors and health professionals may use metaphors to facilitate the provider-patient interaction. It is reasonable to expect that allied health faculty would intentionally train their students in the use of metaphor. However, research on knowledge, use, and perception of metaphors among allied health faculty is absent. To address the gap, our study, by using a 13-question online anonymous survey, aimed to: 1) assess how well faculty of nutrition, respiratory therapy, athletic training, and occupational therapy programs recognize metaphors, and 2) determine if faculty use metaphors when they have to explain a clinical concept. A total of 366 participants completed the survey. Participants agreed on the value of metaphorical communication and showed a willingness to use metaphors in educational settings to teach a clinical concept. Participants were often not able to correctly identify metaphors when used in sentences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of allied health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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