The Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists are now available for download.
These competency standards describe the minimum knowledge, skills and attributes required of Audiologists to provide paediatric services at an advanced level. This is important to support delivery of consistent, high-quality care, and offer clarity and guidance to paediatric Audiologists and their clients and families.
What do the new competency standards mean for clients?
For paediatric clients – those aged under 18 – and their families, the competency standards provide a framework for consistency of care, and act as a form of quality assurance. They 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.
What do the new competency standards mean for Audiologists?
For paediatric Audiologists, these competency standards offer a clear understanding of the knowledge, skills and attributes they require to deliver paediatric services at an advanced level. The competency standards can be used by an individual Audiologist to guide their professional development, by clinical team leaders to assess the competency of staff members, and for the purpose of certification.
Please click here to access the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists.
Please click here for a brief summary of the project.
About development of the competency standards
The development of the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. Audiology Australia led the project for the Hearing Health Sector Alliance (HHSA). This process was supported and guided by the Paediatric Competency Standards Working Group, established in 2020, with wide consultation across the hearing health sector.
During the course of the project, several consultation rounds in various forms were conducted. These were open to Audiologists, parents seeking audiology services for their infant or child, and their consumer representatives.
The first consultation activity was held in December 2020 in the form of online focus groups examining the tasks involved in the practice of paediatric audiology.
The Working Group reviewed the data collected at these focus groups and developed an early draft of the competencies. This early draft was the subject of further consultation in July 2021 in the form of focus groups and a survey.
The draft was revised, and a second survey in the form of a modified Delphi process was conducted on the revised document. All Audiologists who had an interest and/or experience in paediatric audiology were invited to participate in the survey. 72 people responded, drawn from almost all states and territories, as well as a small number of overseas locations.
Each respondent was asked to register their agreement or non-agreement with each individual competency standard, including whether they had suggestions for alternate wording.
Respondent agreement with the competency standards was at very high levels, with 96.1% agreement across all the individual competency standards. Agreement with wording changes was at 3.5%, and only 0.4% of responses did not agree with the inclusion of a particular competency standard.
The feedback was reviewed, and a small number of changes was made to the draft.
Thank you to all those who contributed their feedback during each of the consultation stages.
Endorsement of the competency standards
A final draft was submitted to the HHSA in January 2022. The HHSA endorsed the document, and it was subsequently adopted by Audiology Australia. It was published in March 2022.
The competency standards are for Audiologists who provide services at an advanced level to infants, children and young people aged under 18 years.
The competency standards will apply to Audiologists only. The competency standards 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, at an advanced level.
A system of voluntary certification (refer below) is being developed to provide Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists with the opportunity to apply for recognition as a Paediatric Audiologist at an advanced level of skill, 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.
Audiology Australia, in a separate but related project, is developing a system for Audiologists wanting to be recognised for their advanced skills and experience 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 for Audiologists. The question of how this assessment is to be undertaken will be determined as part of the paediatric certification project.
For details on the certification project, please click here.
Launched by Audiology Australia in September 2021, the National Competency Standards 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.
For those Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologists who choose to apply for voluntary certification as an Audiologist in the area of paediatric audiology, the competency standards describe the minimum requirements for recognition as having the particular skills and experience at the advanced level required for certification. These requirements will be in addition to those described in the National Competency Standards.
For further information about the Paediatric Competency Standards for Audiologists, please contact Georgie Bodman at Audiology Australia via firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9940 3900.