Advanced Paediatric Certification Framework

Audiology Australia is currently developing a voluntary advanced paediatric audiology certification framework. 
 

 

Audiology Australia is currently developing a voluntary advanced paediatric audiology certification framework. This will enable Audiologists experienced in the delivery of paediatric audiology services to apply for certification identifying them as having advanced skills working with children, including on complex cases - Certified Advanced Paediatric Audiologist.

This is in line with the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists  developed for the Hearing Health Sector Alliance (HHSA). Funded by the Australian Government, you can access and read more about the Paediatric Competency Standards hereThe competency standards have recently been endorsed by the HHSA, and adopted by Audiology Australia.

Certification will be voluntary with Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists already considered competent to practise independently (without supervision), regardless of their paediatric certification status.

The focus of the proposed framework is to provide an avenue for certification as an advanced paediatric Audiologist, keeping the needs of the child at its core. 

 

For the draft proposed framework click here.

 

December 2022 focus groups and survey

After review of the key elements of the proposal based on feedback contributed via our September/October survey (view feedback summary here), a further survey and online focus groups were conducted in December 2022.

 

Next Steps

The working group will now review the feedback provided by members through the focus group sessions and survey and finalise the framework for implementation in mid-2023. In the coming months prior to implementation, members will be provided with further updates on the framework, as well as on other matters such as application form and fees.

 

Previous consultations and review of the proposed framework

The Paediatric Certification Working Group was formed at the end of 2020. It reviewed models of certification used by audiology bodies internationally, and by other allied health professions in Australia. As it discussed possibilities for a draft framework, it also reviewed this against the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists  to ensure alignment.

Audiology Australia’s goal has been to ensure a full, constructive, and robust consultation process.

The Working Group was keen to present members with an initial proposal for a framework and invite comment on each aspect within - a survey in November 2021 was designed to facilitate this.

Two online discovery sessions were also held in December, at which the first draft of the framework was discussed.

The Working Group reviewed all the feedback on the first draft, and had specific questions and ideas regarding eligibility it was keen to seek input on in its February 2022 focus groups and survey. It invited members to discuss these aspects to inform the next iteration of the draft framework. Members were also able to submit written feedback via a survey in this consultation stage.

Parents and their consumer representatives were also invited to attend a separate focus group and survey to contribute their thoughts.

Consultation Survey (September 2022)

The Paediatric Certification Working Group considered all the feedback from our February 2022 consultation activities, and revised some key elements of the proposal. These included the eligibility criteria, the requirements to maintain certification, and the application requirements. Some significant changes were made.

A survey was conducted in September/October 2022 open to all members, to comment on the draft elements. View a summary of the feedback from the focus groups and survey here.

 

Implementation timeframe extended

Implementation was originally planned for 2022. The implementation date has been extended to mid-2023. This has allowed for more consultation rounds with AudA members and other stakeholders, and review of all feedback, as the framework is developed.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Who is on the Paediatric Certification Working Group?

The Working Group has been expanded to explicitly include representation from small business, private practice, and rural/remote perspectives. It comprises of Audiologists with experience in delivering paediatric audiology services, AudA Board members, and a consumer representative:

Jessica Vitkovic (Chair)

Fiona Duncan

Fiona Griffiths 

Alison King

Ann Porter AM

Iain Summerlin

Lia Traves

Barbra Timmer

Dani Tomlin

Sue Walmsley

 

What is the timeframe for implementation?

Implementation of the certification framework is planned for mid-2023. The Working Group will review the feedback from this current consultation phase and finalise the proposal for implementation in mid-2023. Two years after implementation, a review supported by further consultation will be undertaken

 

What is the definition of a paediatric client?

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists define a child as someone under the age of 18, thereby including infants, children, and young people. The draft certification framework aligns with the competency standards, operating with the same definition.

 

Will it be mandatory for anyone working in paediatric audiology to be certified?

No. The certification framework is a voluntary system. The framework is not a barrier to delivering services to children and their families. In line with the Scope of Practice, AudA Accredited Audiologists are able, and will remain able, to work with all ages, from infants to older adults.

 

Why develop a certification framework?

The certification framework is being designed for those who want to be able to describe themselves as having an advanced level of skill in working with children, including complex cases - an experienced paediatric Audiologist. This is in line with the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists. (PCS). Many Audiology Australia members over the years have requested systems for recognition of advanced skill, and a certification framework is designed as one method of meeting this need.

For infants, children and young people (all those aged under 18), and their families, the certification framework, aligned with the PCS, will provide a framework for consistency of care, and act as a form of quality assurance. It will seek to inspire a family’s confidence in the advanced skills and experience of their Audiologist, with a focus on high-quality, child and family-centred practice. The emphasis in the certification framework is on up to date clinically related experience, for example including management of a paediatric clinic, rather than purely academic experience.

The project to develop the PCS was funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health. Audiology Australia took the view that proactively developing, in consultation with members, a certification system to align with the PCS would be preferable to possibly having systems developed by others which impact on members at some point in the future.

 

How will we know that an Audiologist who gains certification has advanced skills?

The certification framework is built around and aligns with the Paediatric Competency Standards (PCS). The PCS are set at the advanced level, describing the knowledge, skills and attributes of experienced and highly skilled Audiologists who provide services to children under the age of 18, and their families.

The PCS were developed in consultation with AudA members and consumers who contributed to a practice analysis exercise. In this exercise, the tasks undertaken by an Audiologist who could be described as working at an advanced level of skill with children and their families were documented. The competencies in the PCS were then formed based on these tasks. Meeting the competencies will be an essential part of the process to qualify for certification.

 

Will certification apply to clinics?

Certification will apply to clinicians, not to clinics. Eligible individuals will be able to seek certification, but businesses or clinics will not be. Accordingly, conditions will apply to how certification can be advertised, and communications designed for AudA members and for the public will make those points clear.

 

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists include five areas - will there be separate certification available for each of these areas?

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists specifies competencies in the following five areas:

Paediatric Audiologist - Standalone or prerequisite area

Paediatric Audiologist (Diagnostic Neonate/Infant)

Paediatric Audiologist (Intervention - Hearing Aids)

Paediatric Audiologist (Intervention - Hearing Implants)

Paediatric Audiologist (Auditory Processing Disorder)

The first area, Paediatric Audiologist, includes general competencies related to matters such as legal requirements or communications, as well as competencies related to the clinical area of paediatric hearing assessment. All competencies described in the Paediatric Audiologist area are expected of any Audiologist who is also experienced and confident in any of the other four areas. This area, therefore, can operate as a standalone area, or as the prerequisite for the other areas.

The first draft of the certification framework planned for certification for each of the five areas, however it is now planned to develop certification for the Paediatric Audiologist area only. Work will be undertaken in the future to examine certification for the other four areas, with consultation to be conducted at that time.

 

Will those who choose not to apply for certification be able to continue working with children and their families?

Yes. Audiologists who choose not to apply for certification will be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services.

 

What will distinguish an AudA Accredited Audiologist without certification in paediatric audiology, from one with certification?

Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists are competent to practise independently with or without paediatric certification, regardless of their paediatric certification status.

 

What would happen to those who took maternity leave or were unable to demonstrate eligibility according to the criteria in the framework, due to personal circumstances and hardship?

Please refer to the full draft proposal for details of the case-by-case eligibility pathway, and the application of existing AudA policies to the certification framework.

 

What were the models the Working Group considered when starting work on developing a draft certification framework?

The Working Group reviewed approaches taken by international audiology bodies as well as other Australian allied health professions. There were a number of models considered:

  • Education: Requires a higher degree qualification to be completed in the area of practice, after the original degree qualifying for the profession itself.

  • Professional development: Undertake a minimum number of Continuing Professional Development activities and/or other short courses, self-directed learning, supervisor led tutorials, etc, in the area of practice.

  • Experience: Requires a term of experience to be completed in the area of practice at some point after completion of the qualification (e.g., Master of Clinical Audiology), or after completion of internship following the qualification.
  •  

Exams and/or supervised practice also feature in some systems of certification.

The Working Group selected a model based on experience, but with a professional development component as one of the requirements in maintaining certification. 

 

Will Audiometrists be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services?

Yes, in line with their Scope of Practice, Audiometrists will be able to continue delivering paediatric audiology services.

The work that Audiometrists perform and the services they offer to children and their families consistent with their Scope of Practice, are not impacted or restricted by the existence of the paediatric competency standards for Audiologists.

 

Contact

For further information about the paediatric certification framework, please contact Georgie Bodman at Audiology Australia via georgie.bodman@audiology.asn.au or 03 9940 3900.