Paediatric Competency Standards

As part of the Hearing Health Sector Alliance, Audiology Australia is involved in developing Paediatric Competency Standards. 
 

 

Audiology Australia has received Australian Government funding to lead the Hearing Health Sector Alliance’s development of paediatric audiology competency standards for Audiologists. These competency standards will benefit the hearing health sector as a whole by providing further clarification and guidance for both the profession and public about the minimum requirements expected of Audiologists providing paediatric services to clients.

Online focus groups were held in December 2020.  Audiologists working in paediatrics, parents seeking audiology services for their infant or child and their consumer representatives, were invited to discuss the tasks involved in particular areas of audiology.

An individual competency might describe the knowledge, skills and ability required in undertaking a number of tasks across a number of areas of practice and client groups. The goal is to ensure that all competencies required for all tasks, all age groups and all client groups are described, and that no one area of paediatric audiology is omitted.

The Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group reviewed the data collected at the December 2020 focus groups and developed an early draft of the competencies. This early draft was the subject of consultation in July 2021 in the form of online focus groups and a survey.

The draft was revised, and a second survey, open to those Audiologists who work or have worked with paediatric clients, was conducted on the revised document. Thank you to all those who contributed their feedback.

 

Next steps

Feedback from the survey is being reviewed and a final draft will be submitted to the HHSA for approval later this year.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Who is represented in the Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group?

Members are drawn from diverse settings within paediatric audiology such as government agencies, hospitals, community health, private practice, researchers and not-for profit entities. Members represent different aspects of the hearing health sector, including representatives of professional bodies, consumers, businesses, and providers of hearing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Members: 

Margaret Dewberry (Chair)

Rebecca Allnutt

Genelle Cook

Alison King

Greg Leigh

Jane MacDonald

Jena Mayne

Jan Pollard

Ann Porter

Nina Quinn

Dani Tomlin

Lia Traves

Steve Williamson

Why develop Paediatric Competency Standards?

The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists are intended to benefit children and their families who need audiology services. The competency standards will act as a quality assurance mechanism in regard to the qualifications and background of the Audiologist providing them with hearing health care services.

The Paediatric Competency Standards will also benefit the audiology profession by outlining the minimum requirements expected of Audiologists who provide these services.

What age group will the competency standards apply to?

The competency standards will be developed for Audiologists who provide services to children, infants and young people aged under 18 years.

What is Audiology Australia’s role in the Paediatric Competency Standards project?

Audiology Australia has received Australian Government funding  to lead the Hearing Health Sector Alliance’s development of paediatric audiology competency standards for Audiologists. Audiology Australia is delighted to take the lead in driving this this important initiative for the sector and providing a central point of contact between the  Department of Health and the Hearing Health Sector Alliance throughout the project .

Will the Paediatric Competency Standards apply to Audiometrists as well as Audiologists?

The competency standards will apply to Audiologists only. The Australian Government funding is for a set of Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists to be developed. The competency standards will describe the minimum knowledge, skills and attributes required to describe oneself as an Audiologist with experience in delivering paediatric audiology services to infants, children and their families.

A system of voluntary certification (refer below) is being developed to provide AudA Accredited Audiologists with the opportunity to apply for certification as a Paediatric Audiologist, should they wish to do so. The valued work that Audiometrists perform and the services they offer to children and their families consistent with their Scope of Practice will not be impacted or restricted by the existence of the competency standards for Audiologists, or of the voluntary certification system.

How will the Paediatric Competency Standards differ from Clinical Standards and from the Scope of Practice?

The Scope of Practice for Audiologists provides an overview of the services that may be offered by appropriately qualified and experienced Audiologists in Australia. It provides an overview of the scope of practice of the profession of audiology.

Clinical standards focus on the tasks, or how to undertake specific activities, in a particular area of practice.

Competency Standards, however, describe the capability of the individual, encompassing knowledge, skills and professional attributes. Competencies describe capability rather than describing services that can be offered, particular tasks, or steps in a process.

The focus of the Paediatric Competency Standards project is to develop a set of standards that sets out the minimum expected skills and attributes of Audiologists who work in the field of paediatric audiology.

What is the paediatric certification project and how does it relate to the Paediatric Competency Standards?

Audiology Australia, in a separate but related project, will be developing a system for Audiologists wanting to be certified in paediatric audiology.  This voluntary system will set out the process for Audiologists to apply for certification, as well as the ongoing professional development requirements in order to maintain certification. An Audiologist’s application for certification in paediatric audiology will be assessed against the Paediatric Competency Standards. The question of how this assessment is to be undertaken will be determined as part of the paediatric certification project.

Will the paediatric certification system be voluntary or mandatory?

The paediatric certification system (in development and to be consulted on later in 2021) will be a purely voluntary system. Audiologists who choose to will be able to apply for certification.

How will the Paediatric Competency Standards deal with Audiologists who have worked in paediatric audiology for many years, compared with those audiologists newer to the field?

The Paediatric Competency Standards will set out the minimum expected skills and attributes of Audiologists who work in the field of paediatric audiology. They will describe the minimum competencies that every Audiologist working with paediatric clients should possess. Therefore, while a more experienced Audiologist working in paediatrics would be expected to have more skills and knowledge than a newer colleague, the Paediatric Competency Standards will apply to them both.

How will the Paediatric Competency Standards relate to the National Competency Standards?

Launched by Audiology Australia in September 2021, the National Competency Standards  will apply from 1 January 2022 as minimum requirements for every Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist, no matter which area of audiology they work in, or with which client groups, or in which workplace settings.

The Paediatric Competency Standards project is a Hearing Health Sector Alliance project, led by Audiology Australia and funded by the Department of Health. For those AudA Accredited Audiologists who choose to apply for voluntary certification as an Audiologist skilled in the area of paediatric audiology, the competency standards will describe the minimum requirements for recognition as having the particular skills and experience at the level required for certification. These requirements will be in addition to those described in the National Competency Standards.

When will the Paediatric Competency Standards be implemented?

The Paediatric Competency Standards will be implemented in conjunction with the to-be-developed paediatric certification system in mid to late 2022.

 

Contact

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