Fit for Practice: the tale of two professions.

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 38: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World

July, 2015, 528 pages
Published by
T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, K. Fraser & R. Hadgraft

In response to demands for health graduates, who are “fit for practice” the learning outcomes for health profession’ University programs are now typically defined by professional competency frameworks. Students are deemed work ready when they have demonstrated these competencies, at an appropriate level; opportunities for demonstration are provided through good curriculum design focussed on alignment between specific competencies and their assessment. This paper compares and contrasts the expectations of graduates for the two health disciplines of Pharmacy and Speech Pathology. The related impact of how professional accreditation processes conceptualise the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes of graduates and the effect this has on assessing, evidencing and evaluating these is examined. We also discuss the implications for university teachers and the tensions around educating professionals entering uncertain, changing and complex practice environments where graduates need to be able to constantly adapt and develop skills throughout their professional life.

Keywords: competency, Pharmacy, Speech Pathology