Physiotherapy in depth
Physiotherapy Competencies to Practice Thresholds in New Zealand – a six month reportback
In May last year, we implemented the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Physiotherapy Practice Thresholds. They replaced the nine Physiotherapy Competencies as the entry level standard of competence required for registration as a physiotherapist in New Zealand.
Since then we’ve been working to inform practitioners about the change and what it means. You can read the six-month reportback of this process here.
Standards, Ethics, Thresholds - how we foster excellence together
Standards, ethics, thresholds and lifelong learning - these are all critical to growing and improving our profession. But how does it all fit together and how can you have your say in where we head as physiotherapists?
Physio Board Professional Advisor Jon Warren answers these questions ahead of our consultation with you on some of these significant issues.
‘Lifelong Learning’ aka getting better with time
This is a term that is often bandied around and seems a positive attribute. UNESCO defined it in 1996 as learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live with each other. This is a very aspirational definition. In physiotherapy, it’s related to evidence-based practice where clinical decisions are based on the external and internal evidence, along with the patient’s goal. The Physiotherapy Board (Board) is statutorily bound to check the lifelong learning of the profession. The adage is ‘trust but verify’, and this is done through the Recertification Programme. The makeup of this is due for review later in the year so stay tuned, as this is your chance of input.
‘Standards’ aka competence
This can be defined as a level of quality/attainment or something used as a norm or measure. In physiotherapy, it seems we have lots of these and we do! From the Board’s perspective, these are important to ensure our statutory role; the safety of the public. To start with we have the Educational Standard for Physiotherapy Practitioner Programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand, the accreditation standard for university programmes. This standard was written at the end of last year and will be released for consultation in the next month, so again we would like your input.
The Physiotherapy Practice Thresholds of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand aka the bi-national thresholds is the next standard that covers the proficiencies necessary to attain and maintain registration as a physiotherapist on both sides of the Tasman. This also defines the level necessary for overseas physiotherapists to register in New Zealand. This was created in 2015 after consultation with the both NZ and Australian professions.
The Board Standards aka the level of quality care expected from the profession and for the public. These are a suite of standards, which start with the overarching Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In conjunction with Physiotherapy New Zealand, this document has recently been reviewed and updated. It is now due for final consultation.
The rest of the standards are broadly grouped into Professional and Practice Standards. At present count, we have written 14. The content has come from existing physiotherapy position statements and standards, international physiotherapy standards, and standards from other health professional regulatory authorities.
These standards need input from the profession to check, modify, and if necessary improve the content to ensure we all have the same expectations. We plan to launch the consultation on all these standards in Wellington in May or June - so watch this space, as we want your input. We also plan to get to present these in the main centres to ensure everyone has an opportunity to give constructive feedback. Finally, as with all consultations, the whole profession will receive electronic links to enable individual feedback.
In short we have an exciting year ahead at the Board, which means we need your help to continue embracing our vision of Fostering Excellence in Physiotherapy.