Accreditation requirements in allied health education: Strengths, weaknesses and missed opportunities

Lindy McAllister, Srivalli Nagarajan

Abstract


We reviewed the accreditation requirements of professional associations in Allied Health (AH) in Australia to understand the range of accreditation requirements and approaches with a particular focus on requirements around clinical education in AH education. We then identified the strengths in accreditation documents in current approaches and requirements, and areas for improvements where accreditation could better support educational processes and preparation of work ready graduates, as well as missed opportunities for preparing the allied health workforce for future healthcare needs. The findings suggest that the accreditation criteria and standards perform well for the development of students' conceptual and procedural knowledge. However, there are several opportunities for improvement such as preparation of graduates to meet current and future needs of healthcare, focus on biopsychosocial perspectives of health as healthcare models shift from hospital to community-based settings, gaps in interpretation and intentions of accreditation requirements, encouragement of supervision models that are pedagogically sound, increased employer representation on accreditation panels and increased emphasis on development of interprofessional skills. We outline how constraints arising from accreditation requirements limit universities' use of new educational approaches. Arising from this analysis, a summary of considerations for AH accreditation bodies is provided.

Keywords


Allied health occupations, accreditation, curriculum, pedagogy, active learning clinical placements, work readiness, health graduates

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2015vol6no1art570

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