A comparison of international occupational therapy competencies: implications for Australian standards in the new millennium.
ABSTRACT A timely evaluation of the Australian Competency Standards for Entry-Level Occupational Therapists (1994) was conducted. This thorough investigation comprised a literature review exploring the concept of competence and the applications of competency standards; systematic benchmarking of the Australian Occupational Therapy Competency Standards (OT AUSTRALIA, 1994) against other national and international competency standards and other affiliated documents, from occupational therapy and other cognate disciplines; and extensive nationwide consultation with the professional community. This paper explores and examines the similarities and disparities between occupational therapy competency standards documents available in English from Australia and other countries.
An online search for national occupational therapy competency standards located 10 documents, including the Australian competencies.
Four 'frameworks' were created to categorise the documents according to their conceptual underpinnings: Technical-Prescriptive, Enabling, Educational and Meta-Cognitive. Other characteristics that appeared to impact the design, content and implementation of competency standards, including definitions of key concepts, authorship, national and cultural priorities, scope of services, intended use and review mechanisms, were revealed.
The proposed 'frameworks' and identification of influential characteristics provided a 'lens' through which to understand and evaluate competency standards. While consistent application of and attention to some of these characteristics appear to consolidate and affirm the authority of competency standards, it is suggested that the national context should be a critical determinant of the design and content of the final document. The Australian Occupational Therapy Competency Standards (OT AUSTRALIA, 1994) are critiqued accordingly, and preliminary recommendations for revision are proposed.
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ABSTRACT: There is a paucity of research examining the issues faced by New Zealand new graduate occupational therapists entering practice, including understanding graduates' abilities to translate knowledge and skills gained in their professional training, into the clinical setting. This study sought to explore the perceived strengths and weaknesses of newly graduated occupational therapists in New Zealand. A mixed methods approach was used including: (i) online survey completed by 458 New Zealand registered occupational therapists, and (ii) five focus groups, in four cities, with occupational therapists, educators and managers. Survey and focus group questions explored new graduates' preparedness for practice based on the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand competencies for registration. New graduates were perceived to be strong in the competencies of 'communication' and 'continuing professional development', and weaker in the areas of 'implementation of occupational therapy' and 'management of environment and resources'. Perceptions of graduates' preparedness in relation to 'culturally safe practice', 'safe, ethical and legal practice' and 'management of self and people' were mixed. The profession has not raised any serious concerns about new graduates' preparedness for practice; however, there were some identified weaknesses. Currently, there is no clear evidence that increasing undergraduate training time would address these weaknesses and some indication that postgraduate focus may be preferable. Furthermore, the findings highlight the inconsistency in previous studies regarding perceptions of graduate preparedness. Further research regarding new graduates preparedness for practice, from multiple perspectives and taking into consideration length and stage of education, is recommended.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 06/2013; 60(3):189-96. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The essential competencies of occupational therapy practice are agreed upon and documented (ACOTRO, 2003), yet they have not been used to evaluate educational programs. To evaluate the match between the planned curriculum and the nationally recognized competencies that define safe, effective, and ethical practice. Utilizing a comparative and systematic approach, course learning objectives in the approved curriculum map were matched to the ACOTRO (2003) competencies. A total of 218 links were made between the 179 learning objectives and the 30 essential competencies. There were no links to three competencies. Learning objectives were not equally represented across the ACOTRO units; initial analyses indicate the distribution is likely appropriate. This novel evaluative process allowed critical appraisal and subsequent minor revision of Dalhousie curriculum. The appropriate, relative weighting of curriculum content is unknown and is a professional issue for discussion by regulators, educators, and the profession at large.Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy 06/2012; 79(3):175-80. · 0.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the perspectives of occupational therapy students who have engaged in international, cross-cultural learning and service experiences. This study utilized a qualitative, phenomenological design. Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with students who engaged in international learning opportunities. The interviews were coded and analyzed using a constant comparative analysis approach. Three central themes emerged from the data analysis. Connectedness is the process of forming relationships with others while engaging in cross-cultural experiences. Students formed relationships with faculty, other students, and people within the community. Cultural awareness is the recognition and understanding of a different culture and responding to those differences. Students attempted to understand the new culture in comparison to their own lived experiences. Complexity portrays cross-cultural opportunities as dynamic, multi-faceted and intricate. This was demonstrated as the students raised additional questions about the conflict between their own culture and the new culture they entered. Students also identified limited orientation, support and structure with such experiences and the conflicting roles between volunteer, student, and team member. The ability to connect with others when building relationships in diverse cultural contexts held meaning for the students; however, the students also expressed conflict in trying to make sense of the new culture as it often challenged personal beliefs and constructs. The complexity and challenges of engaging in these opportunities needs to be recognized and further explored to assess how curricula and faculty best supports culturally responsive care.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 06/2012; 59(3):225-34. · 0.83 Impact Factor