A six-step model for developing competency frameworks in the healthcare professions

Competency frameworks are developed for a variety of purposes, including describing professional practice and informing education and assessment frameworks. Despite the volume of competency frameworks developed in the healthcare professions, guidance remains unclear and is inconsistently adhered to (perhaps in part due to a lack of organising frameworks), there is variability in methodological choices, inconsistently reported outputs, and a lack of evaluation of frameworks. As such, we proposed the need for improved guidance. In this paper we outline a six-step model for developing competency framework that is designed to address some of these shortcomings. The six-steps comprise [1] identifying purpose, intended uses, scope, and stakeholders; [2] theoretically informed ways of identifying the contexts of complex, ‘real-world’ professional practice, which includes [3] aligned methods and means by which practice can be explored; [4] the identification and specification of competencies required for professional practice, [5] how to report the process and outputs of identifying such competencies, and [6] built-in strategies to continuously evaluate, update and maintain competency framework development processes and outputs. The model synthesizes and organizes existing guidance and literature, and furthers this existing guidance by highlighting the need for a theoretically-informed approach to describing and exploring practice that is appropriate, as well as offering guidance for developers on reporting the development process and outputs, and planning for the ongoing maintenance of frameworks.

Published in Frontiers in Medicine (open-access): https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.789828

Pre-print available from preprints.org: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202103.0296/v3

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