Accreditation requirements in allied health education: Strengths, weaknesses and missed opportunities
This paper reviews the accreditation requirements for six Allied Health (AH) degree programs in Australia to understand the range of accreditation requirements and approaches, with a particular focus on requirements around clinical education in AH education. Strengths of current approaches and further requirements are identified. Of particular interest are those areas where accreditation could better support educational goals and processes, including the preparation of work ready graduates and the encouragement of the use of currently underutilized opportunities for preparing the AH workforce for future healthcare needs. The findings suggest that the accreditation criteria perform well for the development of students’ conceptual and procedural knowledge. However, there are several opportunities for improvement where accreditation could better support preparation of graduates to meet current and future needs of healthcare. These opportunities include increased emphasis on biopsychosocial perspectives of health as healthcare models shift from hospital to community-based settings, increased emphasis on development of interprofessional skills, encouragement of diverse supervision models, explicitness about intentions and interpretations of accreditation requirements, and increased employer representation on accreditation panels. Constraints on universities’ uses of new educational approaches imposed by or arising from non-explicit accreditation requirements are outlined. Arising from this analysis, a summary of considerations for AH accreditation bodies is provided.
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