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GMS Z Med Ausbild. 2011;28(1):Doc11. doi: 10.3205/zma000723. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

Learning outcomes for health professions: the concept of the swiss competencies framework.

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sottas formative works, Bourguillon, Schweiz.


Modern conceptions of education are based on normative goals concerning learning outcomes in terms of competencies to acquire. The objective of the Swiss competencies framework was to define general and profession-specific learning outcomes for Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy (ergotherapy), midwifery, nutrition counselling, and technicians in medical radiology. In addition, national authorities needed an instrument that allowed the integration of the old professional trainings into a nationally-harmonised education system and that showed the specificities of the levels (higher vocational education; bachelor and master degree at university level). While the general learning outcomes were derived from legal bases, the profession-specific learning outcomes are elaborated according to the competency-based CanMEDS framework. In the CanMEDS framework, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are condensed into meta-competencies which in turn are divided into seven roles, including the medical expert (central role). Taxonomic characteristics and indicators were elaborated in an iterative process that involved regulators, the universities of applied sciences and professional organisations. For the degree programmes mentioned above, the framework developed focuses not only on professional expertise, but also on collaboration with other health professions. Moreover, the interface-management in care taking processes is a critical success factor. Based on this conception, three levels of objectives were identified: general competencies, profession-specific learning outcomes and learning objectives to be implemented in the universities of applied sciences. The general competencies are composed of four dimensions and apply to all health professionals. The profession-specific learning outcomes for the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes are outlined with 3 to 5 indicators each in all seven professions concerned. The definition and identification of these learning outcomes allows locating the different study programmes on the correct level of tertiary education. The resulting competency framework can be applied to all health professions. The general and job-specific learning outcomes are a coherent, coordinated set of standards, which represent the objectives of Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in a differentiated way and promote inter-professional collaboration.


education; health professions; professional practice.

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