, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 451-453
Date: 17 Jun 2009

The competency movement in the health professions: ensuring consistent standards or reproducing conventional domains of practice?

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Efforts to define professional competence are growing among the health professions. Increasing numbers of professional groups, regulatory bodies and government agencies are introducing specialty, professional and interprofessional competencies (e.g., Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada CanMeds Competency Framework 2005; The Public Health Agency of Canada Core Competencies for Public Health Practice 2007; NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement Medical Leadership Competency Framework 2009). While there are a number of benefits derived from clearly defining scope of practice and identifying appropriate indicators of acceptable performance, the competency movement may also be viewed as a trend that reproduces conventional practices, limits innovation and interferes with interprofessional practice.

An enhanced focus on risk management, consumer rights and workforce expansion are among the factors identified as driving the growth of the competency approach within and amon