Processes in the Development of International Specialist Competencies and Standards
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Bulley, C. & Donaghy, M. (2008) Processes in the Development of International Specialist Competencies and Standards, Journal of Allied Health, vol. 37, , pp. 221E-243E,
In a world of rapidly developing knowledge it is important that professions describe their roles and capabilities. The need for a thorough description of sports physiotherapy was addressed through collaboration between the International Federation of Sports Physiotherapy (IFSP) and five European higher education institutions. This resulted in the Sports Physiotherapy for All Project, which has been successful in developing internationally accepted competencies and standards for sports physiotherapists. This article describes and reflects on the process to communicate useful lessons. Methods: A competency model was chosen to facilitate differentiation and communication of aspects of sports physiotherapy practice. Documentation relating to sports physiotherapy practice was collected from 16 countries and analysed thematically. A cut and paste method was used by a panel of experts to allocate themes to areas of practice within the competency model. Theme groups were used to select areas of practice for description in competency form. Standards were derived from competencies following in depth discussion with the expert panel, and triangulation with themes derived from international documentation. Results: A rigorous process of international review and revision led to the final list of 11 competencies and related standards, both accepted by the IFSP. Implications: This work provides a foundation for the development of an audit toolkit to guide demonstration and evaluation of competencies and standards. This provides a foundation for targeted career development activities, appropriate provision of training opportunities, and quality enhancement. The experiences gained during this project can inform other health professions and their specialisms when embarking on a similar journey.