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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


BUYS, Tania. Professional competencies in vocational rehabilitation: Results of a Delphi study. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2015, vol.45, n.3, pp.48-54. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Opportunities for South African occupational therapists to deliver appropriate vocational rehabilitation services to workers with disabilities in the open labour market, increased within the context of current South African disability equity legislation. However research into the identification of professional competencies required to practise in this area of work had not been undertaken and this is necessary to ensure that occupational therapy curriculum content presented at South African universities are aligned with practice requirements. Research was therefore undertaken as part of the study for a master's degree, to identify these competencies. METHOD: A Delphi technique was employed using a panel of 35 occupational therapists representing various practice settings and meeting pre-determined expert criteria. Three rounds of questionnaires were sent to the research participants requesting them to identify knowledge, skills and values reflecting professional competencies. RESULTS: Following a process of data analysis, 16 professional competencies were identified as being necessary to deliver vocational rehabilitation services to workers with disabilities in the South African open labour market. CONCLUSION: Based on the results of this study, recommendations are made for inclusion of professional competencies in an under- and postgraduate curriculum level. The results of this research should be further communicated to the Professional Board for Occupational Therapy, Medical Orthotics, Prosthetics and Art Therapy for consideration by the Education Committee.

Keywords : Vocational rehabilitation; Delphi technique; experts; professional competencies.

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