Dirk Vissers1*, Ulrike Van Daele1, Willem de Hertogh1, An de Meulenaere1 and Joke Denekens2
1University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Antwerp, Belgium
2University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dept. of Education, Antwerp, Belgium
Received: 11 June, 2014; Accepted: 18 September, 2014; Published: 20 September, 2014
Dirk Vissers, Fac. Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen (Wilrijk), Belgium, Tel: 0032474595599; Fax: 003236418270; Email:
Vissers D, Daele UV, de Hertogh W, de Meulenaere A, Denekens J (2014) Introducing Competency-Based Education Based on the Roles that Physiotherapists Fulfil. J Nov Physiother Phys Rehabil 1(2): 053-058. DOI: 10.17352/2455-5487.000010
© 2014 Vissers D, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Competency-based; Education; Curriculum; Physiotherapy
Introduction: Although there has been a shift towards competency-based medical education in the past decade, littlel iterature is available about the specific use of competency-based education in physiotherapy education. The purpose of this article is firstly to describe the development of a competency-based educational program for physiotherapy and secondly to present the results of the evaluation of the competency-based program by an independent panel of stakeholders.
Method: A role-based competency framework was gradually developed and implemented in a 5-year university-based physiotherapy education program leading to a Master of Science degree. A stakeholder panel was asked to which degree they agreed that the specified roles and competencies were important for physiotherapists.
Results: Competencies were defined for the roles of clinician, scientist and professional and linked to behavioural indicators, carefully checking that the model covered all Dublin descriptors. Although a vast majority of the stakeholder panel considered the proposed roles (92,8%) and competencies (100%) as a strong characteristic of the program, scientific competencies were generally considered less important than clinical or professional competencies.
Conclusions: Competencies of a role-based educational program for physiotherapy should be aligned with competencies expected in the professional field paying special attention to scientific competencies needed for evidence-based clinical practise and innovation of physiotherapy.
Competency-based education (CBE) is focused on outcomes (competencies) that are linked to workforce needs, as defined by employers and the profession. Therefore, it is focused on skills, knowledge and attitudes of graduates, rather than solely what goes into the curriculum. With a competency-based approach, firstly, the competencies t hat need to be attained by the students are identified and secondly, the content to support student attainment of those competencies is selected. Such an approach needs to be accompanied by a robust and multifaceted assessment system . There seems to be a need for the development of appropriate steps to promote dialogue, critique and innovation within and among professions about relevant competencies when introducing a competency-based educational program . Competency-based approaches to interprofessional education have been developed in parallel to competency-based approaches within the health professions .
The challenge seems to be to engage all stakeholders in this dialogue . Meeting the challenges of a competency-based framework and supporting these educational innovations require a robust faculty development program [5,6]. Although core competencies that are important for physiotherapists seem to be available [7-9] and the use of CBE in medical education seems to be well described , there exists, to the best of our knowledge, little literature about the specific use of CBE in physiotherapy education. With a steady push towards education of evidence-based practise, there seems to be an increasing interest in physical therapy PhD programs, both in Europe and the United States.In Europe there is a lot difference in the diploma and the credits needed to start working as a physiotherapist (Figure 1). In Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, physiotherapists graduate as aMaster of Science in rehabilitation sciences and physiotherapy. They enrol in a 5-year educational program of the second cycle, as described in the Bergen conference of European ministers responsible for higher education  that consists of a 3-year bachelor program (180 ECTS Credits) and a 2-year master program (120 ECTS Credits).
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