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J Allied Health. 1978 Spring;7(2):149-56.

Progress toward development of a general model for competence definition in health professions.


For the past three years a team of educational evaluators and health professionals has worked on development of (1) definitions of competence in occupational therapy, clinical dietetics and medical technology, and (2) associated prototype assessment instruments. This study has also involved an effort to develop a research methodology for pursuing similar investigations in other fields. That methodology, the Professional Performance Situation Model, proved appropriate for occupational therapy. A second application with clinical dietetics brough a number of significant modifications which support the view that PPSM is a valid special model for direct patient contact health professions. The third application, with medical technology, is intended to extend PPSM as a general model for competence definition in health professions. This article concentrates on the application of PPSM in clinical dietetics. It is argued that evidence for the feasibility and validity of PPSM is sufficient to justify confidence in the methodology. Completion of the next phase of development promises to support the authors' contention that they have developed a general paradigm for competence definition and assessment in all health professions.

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