Background: The Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia (CCE-A) is tasked with assessment and accreditation of chiropractic programs (CPs) in the Australasian community. To achieve this process the CCE-A has developed educational standards and graduate competencies which include minimum expectations of graduates prior to entry into the workforce. We sought to explore if these are changing overtime, and if so are these changes for the better.
Method: The CCE-A 2009 and 2017 Competency Standards were located and downloaded. The competencies were placed into tables for a comparative analyses in a systematic manner to enable the identification of similarities and differences. In addition, word counts were conducted for the most commonly occurring words and this took place in December 2019.
Results: The 2017 competency standards were over three times smaller than the previous standards 2009 standards. More similarities than differences between the old and the new standards were found. There were 18 additions to the 2017 graduate competencies with many that were in unison with contemporary aspects of healthcare such as patient centred-care, respect for practitioner-patient boundaries and patient sexual orientation, transitioning patients to self-management, and consideration of improving lifestyle options. Some competencies were not bought forward to the new standards and included, among others, students being competent in screening for mental health conditions, an expectation to discuss cost of care, re-evaluating and monitoring patients at each visit, and knowing when to discharge patients. The competencies continued to be silent on known issues within the chiropractic profession of a lack of a definition for chiropractic that would inform scope of practice and the presence of vitalism within CPs.
Conclusion: There have been positive changes which reflect contemporary mainstream health care standards between CCE-A graduate competency revisions. The absence of a clear definition of chiropractic and its attendant scope of practice as well as continued silence on vitalism reflect known issues within the chiropractic profession. Recommendations are made for future accreditation standards to inform the required competencies and aid the integration of chiropractic into the broader health care community.
Author keywords: Accreditation — Chiropractic — Education — Standards
Author affiliations: SI: College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia; AK: School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
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