Taking important step on the career pathway


Building career pathways that provide recognition and reward are paramount to the future of the profession, says APA General Manager, Education James Fitzpatrick. To meet this aim, the APA Board of Directors has signalled its desire to promote two clear and transparent credentials to the external health community.

This process began in 2017 when the APA developed the Physiotherapy Competence Framework. The framework outlines the competence requirements for each of the four milestone levels—foundation, intermediate, highly developed and expert.

The APA will continue to train and internally recognise the four levels in the framework while externally, the two credentials of physiotherapist and specialist physiotherapist will be used. And in an exciting new opportunity, membership of the Australian College of Physiotherapists will be open to both highly developed (titled) and expert (specialist physiotherapists) from next year.

Highly developed clinicians who are current titled members will continue to be able to use their current title (eg, APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist) and they will be given the option to join the College as a ‘Member of the Australian College of Physiotherapists’, using the post-nominal MACP. Current specialist physiotherapists will continue to use the credential ‘Specialist Physiotherapist as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists’, using the post-nominal FACP.

‘The goal is to recognise and credential up to 5000 expert specialist physiotherapists who can provide high-level care to complex presentations,’ James says. ‘This significant change will ensure that both highly developed and expert physiotherapists are represented in the College, and they will have the opportunity to be involved in the design of new programs that will lead to robust, transparent, affordable, transportable, recognised and accredited pathways.

‘The creation of opportunities for physiotherapists to pursue credentials in vertical clinical streams such as musculoskeletal or sports and exercise will always be important. However, there will be new opportunities for physiotherapists to build their own pathways across multiple streams,’ James says.

The new education framework, which is currently under consultation, will revolutionise the concept for physiotherapists to have clearly defined parameters to build their own career pathway to best match their clinical role, James says.

‘The Physiotherapy Competence Framework and the Education Framework are central to, and underpin ongoing, development of the profession. The College is leading the formation of new governance structures to ensure it further enhances harmonisation,’ he says.

Six new standing committees of education quality, complaints grievances and appeals, credentialing, admissions, faculties programs, and fellowship programs have been formed. And in October this year, members across the APA will be eligible to be elected to those standing committees for 2020. This new structure, James says, creates the opportunity for academics, leaders and clinicians to come together to shape the future of education for physiotherapy in Australia and the Asia Western Pacific region.

Four new pathways to fellowship of the College have been under development over the last two years. Pain commenced titling in 2018 and there are more than 60 titled pain members. The College has approved the pain pathway to specialisation, and advertising has begun for the first interim specialisation training program intake. The leadership and management framework is under consultation and it is expected that both titling and fellowship will commence next year. The advanced musculoskeletal practice national framework draft is being finalised and consultation with a range of stakeholders in the second half of 2019 will begin, with a view to potential intakes in 2020. Cancer, palliative care and lymphoedema have finalised their pathways and will commence titling this year.

The final piece of the career pathways project will be the agreement of the profession regarding assessment across the four milestone levels. An assessment discussion paper will outline the key elements and it is expected that consultation with academics, clinical streams and stakeholders this year will clearly identify appropriate and standardised assessment methods.

‘This work will complete the education model,’ James says. ‘In 2020, learning outcomes for courses will improve and there will be enhanced learning opportunities which will achieve a higher quality of ongoing professional education.’

To find out more about how to progress your career, visit australian.physio/pd/career-pathway.


© Copyright 2018 by Australian Physiotherapy Association. All rights reserved.