Development of Domains of Competence for Student Outcomes in a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Purpose: Thoroughly and accurately assessing student outcomes is a well-recognized challenge in physical therapy education. Other health professions have moved towards competency- based education as a mechanism for assessing student outcomes. Domains of Competence are key dimensions critical to be an effective and competent professional. Domains of competence provide a taxonomy to which all competencies can be mapped. Our goal was to develop a strategic plan and framework for assessing student outcomes within a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. The first step of the project was focused on identifying, defining, and validating Domains of Competence that will guide outcome assessment for students in the DPT program at MGH Institute of Health Professions. Methods/Description: A review of existing domains of competence across health professions education guided the identification of potential domains. An iterative process that included reflecting on existing domains of competence, reviewing literature regarding health care competencies, and integrating our institute’s mission and vision was used to identify potential domains of competence. A title, definition, and example behaviors were developed for each potential domain of competence. Core faculty, associated faculty, clinical instructors, site coordinators of clinical education, recent graduates, and clinical partners were invited to participate in a Delphi process to validate the domains, definitions, and example behaviors. Results/Outcomes: Eight domains of competence were identified. The eight domains included (1) Patient Care, (2) Practice-Based Learning, (3) Interpersonal and Communication Skills, (4) Professionalism, (5) Systems-Based Practice, (6) Service and Social Responsibility, (7) Interprofessional Collaboration, and (8) Personal and Professional Development. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The domains of competence identified are consistent with previous literature within health professions and physical therapy literature and align with the institute’s mission and vision. These domains provide a framework for assessing competency-based student outcomes in a DPT program. This project provides an innovative framework of competency-based education and how it can be used to assess student outcomes in physical therapy education, ideally aligning with the theme, Charting a New Course.