As of 1 January 2022, Audiology Australia's National Competency Standards (NCS) are the new reference point for how we talk about, understand, and assess the professional attributes, skills and knowledge needed to practise audiology in Australia. Download a copy and find out more about the new standards below.
The NCS is the primary document that:
1. fully articulates the minimum skills, knowledge and behaviours required for ‘entry level’ practice for Audiologists in Australia
2. sets the standards against which the public can expect safe practice
3. describes the professional attributes and skills required for audiologists to work across multiple contexts in an increasingly complex health system
4. supports further recognition of audiology as a highly qualified health profession and a key component of the Australian health and aged care sector
‘Entry level’ refers to the expected minimum standard of Audiologists considered to be qualified and competent to undertake independent clinical decision making without supervision once they have completed their Clinical Internship.
As of 1 January 2022 the NCS is the primary framework used to:
1 understand and describe the required skills and knowledge for Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists
2. assess your applications to practise audiology after a period of time away
3. set expectations for students making the transition to entry level practitioner on completion of their internship
4. help clients and other health professionals understand your knowledge and skills and what they should expect of you and your services as an accredited Audiologist
Commenced in 2019, the first stage in this project was a discussion paper setting out an overview of the project and an introduction to current practice as it relates to the use and structure of competency frameworks in Australia and internationally.
The second stage sought your feedback on the preferred model with which to structure the NCS. This included two possible models, ‘domains’ and ‘roles’. You were asked to respond to a survey, with results showing a clear preference among respondents for the domains model which describes the action of the health professional, as opposed to the roles model which describes the health professional themselves.
As a result, the Audiology Australia Board decided to structure the NCS with a domains model with the domains serving as the headings under which we group the individual competency standards.
In stage three we ran online workshops in July 2020 where members brainstormed ideas on possible wording and points to consider for competencies that could be included within each domain.
The NCS Working Group reviewed the information gathered during these workshops with these findings extremely valuable in its work developing the first draft. They also drew on research to understand approaches taken by other health professions in Australia, and audiology organisations internationally.
A draft set of NCS went out to members at the end of 2020 in the first round of a Delphi survey process with round one feedback used to amend the draft.
The draft was revised for a third time following a second Delphi survey round in April 2021 and was approved by the AudA Board in July 2021.
Are AudA Accredited Audiologists required to undergo assessment against the NCS?
No. AudA Accredited Audiologists are not required to undergo any assessment against the NCS.However, from 1 January 2022, the CPD events you participate in to maintain and develop your skills as an Accredited Audiologist align with the minimum standards expected of a practitioner as outlined in the NCS.
Are Clinical Interns now assessed against the National Competency Standards (NCS)?
Yes. Interns are now assessed against the NCS and required to meet them in order to complete the Clinical Internship. NCS are entry-level – the minimum standard of practice for Audiologists who have completed their Clinical Internship and are considered sufficiently experienced and competent to practise without supervision. The NCS also continues to apply once the Audiologist has become a full member of AudA and a practising AudA Accredited Audiologist.
The NCS replaces the previous Clinical Internship Competencies and Review Standards (2018). As the framework for assessment of Clinical Internships, the NCS describes the minimum competencies expected on completion of a Clinical Internship, with the 2022 Internship portal and handbook updated to align for new Internships commencing after 1 January 2022.
Each intern will be assessed against every sub-competency in the NCS, whatever their work setting or location.
I began my Clinical Internship before 1 January 2022, will I now be assessed against the National Competency Standards (NCS)?
No, if you are currently undertaking a Clinical Internship or commence a Clinical Internship during 2021 before the NCS came into effect, you will not be assessed against the competencies of the NCS.
You will be assessed and continue to be assessed against the Clinical Internship Competencies and Review Standards (2018) until your Clinical Internship is complete.
This applies if you are doing the Clinical Internship full time or part time and if your Clinical Internship runs into 2022.
Does the NCS differ from the competencies that apply to the university programs?
Yes. Competencies that are within the university program are called Core Knowledge and Competencies Required of Master of Audiology Graduates in Australia (CKCs). The CKCs are used by the universities to set the curriculum and assessments of their students. Audiology Australia assesses each university’s progress in ensuring all students have attained the CKCs, and accredits the university program accordingly.
The NCS, however, have been designed for all AudA Accredited Audiologists, from their entry to the profession during the lifetime of their membership. A review of the competencies that apply to the university programs is underway, to ensure a logical progression of competence from university to Internship to entry to the profession.
How do the NCS feature in the resumption of practice program?
The NCS now guide assessment of applications to resume practice with relevant sections of the NCS the framework for the resumption of practice program.
How does the NCS relate to the Code of Conduct?
The NCS refers to the Code of Conduct for Audiology Australia at various points and operates alongside it, specifying a requirement to also comply with the Code of Conduct.
Do the National Competency Standards differ from the Professional Practice Standards?
The Professional Practice Standards are non-mandatory guidelines for businesses for practice operation and clinical practice and/or for individual clinicians who are interested in exploring a topic in more detail. The National Competency Standards set out the minimum competencies expected of all AudA Accredited Audiologists.
Do the National Competency Standards relate to the Scope of Practice?
The Scope of Practice provides an overview of the services that may be offered by appropriately qualified and experienced Audiologists in Australia practising the profession of audiology. The NCS describe the minimum competencies that every AudA Accredited Audiologist is required to have.
What are the features of a useful set of competencies?
Current best practice dictates the use of broader statements as opposed to a very detailed task list. Competencies should allow for professional judgement and for application for a variety of purposes and within diverse settings. A set of competencies is a work in progress - it recognises that the profession changes as the knowledge and evidence base changes. The competencies, therefore, should be reviewed regularly, ideally every five years or so. Accordingly, the National Competency Standards are not regarded as ‘complete’, but as a document capturing the minimum competencies expected of the AudA Accredited Audiologist at that time.
The majority of competency frameworks among Australian and overseas health professions use two or three categories. The first category is the topic (we have selected six Domains), the second category comprises the main competency statements (often referred to as key elements or essential competencies), and these might be further explained by a number of sub-competencies (often referred to as performance criteria or enabling competencies).
How do the National Competency Standards deal with more experienced audiologists?
The National Competency Standards describe the minimum competencies expected of an AudA Accredited Audiologist. The minimum requirements apply equally to those entering the profession on completion of their internship, and to those with many years’ experience across a range of audiological settings. While a more experienced Audiologist are expected to have more competencies than those described in the National Competency Standards, they will have at least those specified.
Were members consulted on the proposed National Competency Standards?
When were the National Competency Standards finalised?
The NCS were approved by the AudA Board in July 2021 and launched to members in September 2021.
When did the National Competency Standards come into effect?
1 January 2022. Internship registrations under the new standards commence 4 January 2022.
For further information about the National Competency Standards, please contact Georgie Bodman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9940 3900.