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Development of a Master’s Level Competency Profile for Sports Physiotherapists.

By R Coppoolse and Catherine Bulley


Purpose:\ud Sports Physiotherapy for All is a Leonardo da Vinci funded project that aims to enhance professional mobility and recognition of sports physiotherapists in Europe, and to promote safe sports and activity participation. The first step of the project involved the development of European competencies and standards for sports physiotherapists. The protocol for developing the competency profile for sports physiotherapists is outlined and examples of the resulting competencies are provided.\ud \ud Protocol:\ud The design of a competency profile first required analysis of the sports physiotherapy profession. Different professional roles were differentiated and the required behaviours were defined as competencies. \ud \ud A model has been developed in the context of specialised professional physiotherapy master’s qualifications in the Netherlands. This defines specific interconnecting roles within the profession and provided the structure for the competency profile. \ud \ud International documentation relating to sports physiotherapy practice and education was collected and qualitatively analysed for similarities and differences in descriptions of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Themes were developed and cross-checked by an expert panel of sports physiotherapists. A cut-and-paste technique was used to locate each individual theme within the interconnecting professional roles. The expert panel grouped these themes into competencies: behaviours that require the interconnection of knowledge, skills and attitudes, used effectively in a specific professional context1.\ud \ud Output:\ud The professional model incorporates four interconnecting roles: case manager, advisor, professional leader and innovator. Eleven competencies are located within the different roles and the areas of overlap. The model illustrates the interaction of all sports physiotherapy competencies to form the profession. For example, a sports physiotherapist cannot be competent in evidence-based rehabilitation without developing the interconnected life-long learning competency. \ud \ud Discussion \ud The sports physiotherapy competencies were adopted at the International Federation of Sports Physiotherapy General Meeting, November 2004. Standards have been developed to define criteria for minimum threshold levels of achievement of each competency. Support strategies will be developed to facilitate sports physiotherapists in their development and demonstration of their competencies, promoting their professional recognition throughout Europe

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