The development of a specialist competency framework to support the induction of occupational therapists new to community Children and Young People’s services across Scotland.
Executive Summary Competence can be used to describe an individual’s ability to effectively perform a role or appropriately carry out tasks. Mindtools (2019) describe a competency framework as a compilation of the relevant skills and knowledge required to achieve competence in a certain area. Competency frameworks are used to guide learning, recruitment and practice allowing measurement of an individual’s ability and suitability (Bogo, Mischna and Regahr 2011). This project was carried out by a Queen Margaret University (QMU) 4th Year BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy student in collaboration with NHS Borders Children and Young People’s (CYP) service. NHS Borders CYP service supports individuals aged 0-18 with a variety of physical, neurological and mental health conditions (Royal College of Occupational Therapists [RCOT] 2020a). The nature of these conditions often means individuals require lifelong input from an early age (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 2021). Occupational therapists aim to support individuals and their families using assessment and interventions concerned with activities of daily living (NHS Borders 2020). A specialist competency framework was developed for use in Children and Young People’s occupational therapy across Scotland to guide the induction and learning of occupational therapists new to the practice setting. Previously CYP practice was guided by the Knowledge and Skills Framework which outlines general practice requirements (RCOT 2020b). Previous research identified the need for the development of a competency framework to outline of specialist knowledge and skills required to work in CYP Services (Hook 2020; Johnstone 2020). It is recognised that the development of the competency framework would help to align induction, learning and continuing development opportunities with the requirements set out by policy including the Children and Young Peoples (Scotland) Act (2014) (Esplen et al. 2020; Henderson et al. 2020; Hinman et al. 2020; Khuabi and Bester 2020). The project was based in service development and used a method informed Mindtools (2019) competency formulation process. A needs analysis was conducted through an exploration of literature and discussion with the project partner. Existing competency frameworks were used to inform the structure and results of previously conducted 2 research were translated into competency statements (Hook 2020; Johnstone 2020). The competency framework was continually evaluated with feedback from the project partner and project supervisor. A final evaluation was conducted by sharing the competency framework with CYP team leaders across Scotland using email to gather qualitative responses (Kamberelis and Dimitriadis 2013). The evaluation highlighted some suggested changes to the content however, feedback established that the resource fits with the expectations of CYP team leaders. Further discussions on the framework will take place at an upcoming meeting. Recommendations for the continuation of the project include actioning the suggested changes, evaluation of the competency framework and its effectiveness following implementation over time. Further exploration of how appropriately continuing professional development opportunities are aligned with the competencies to be met would be beneficial. An abstract of the project was developed for the Word Federation of Occupational Therapists (2021) upcoming conference, Occupational Re-Volution (see Appendix A: Conference Abstract 18001865).