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Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

Development and Validation of Competencies for Return to Work Coordinators

  • Glenn PranskyEmail author
  • William S. Shaw
  • Patrick Loisel
  • Quan Nha Hong
  • Bruno Désorcy
Article

Abstract

Introduction Return to work (RTW) coordinators are a key element in programs that facilitate RTW of injured or ill workers, yet little research documents the competencies required for success in this role. Methods Competencies were defined as knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors. Eight focus groups were conducted with 75 experienced RTW coordinators to identify 904 individual competencies. These were subsequently reduced to 234 unique items through affinity mapping, and sorted into eight groups: administration, individual personal attributes, information gathering, communication, professional credibility, evaluation, problem-solving, and conflict management. A subset of 100 items, including 88 items most often cited, were incorporated in an Internet-based survey that sampled a broad range of RTW coordinators from three countries. Results Eighty-three of the questionnaire items were rated 4 or 5 (very important or essential) by over half of the 148 respondents. There were no differences in affinity group mean ratings by country, employer, profession, or type of clients. The highest-rated items reflect general personal characteristics, or specific skills related to coordinating among all involved with the RTW process. RTW coordinators with nursing backgrounds provided slightly higher ratings for items related to medical knowledge, but otherwise their ratings were similar to non-nurses. Conclusions These findings indicate a consensus across a wide range of RTW coordinators, and results can be applied to improve coordinator selection, training, and development. Certain key competencies may be well-established individual attributes, and others may be best developed through mentorship. Most of these competencies are probably best evaluated by direct observation.

Keywords

Return-to-work coordination Competencies Case management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by a research grant from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario to the Charles LeMoyne Hospital Research Center. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Judy Geary of the WSIB in the development of this project, Mary Wyatt for organizing the Australian focus groups, and Michelle Robertson of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for guidance on the affinity mapping process. We are also indebted to Susan Katz Sliski, Mary Jane Woiszwillo and Joanna Willetts for assistance with affinity mapping.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Pransky
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • William S. Shaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Loisel
    • 3
    • 4
  • Quan Nha Hong
    • 5
    • 6
  • Bruno Désorcy
    • 6
  1. 1.Liberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyCenter for Disability ResearchHopkintonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Research Expertise in Work Disability Outcomes (CREIDO)University Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Action in Work Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (CAPRIT)LongueuilCanada
  6. 6.Département de RéadaptationUniversité de SherbrookeLongueuilCanada

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