Impact of placement type on the development of clinical competency in speech–language pathology students
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Background: Speech language pathology students gain experience and clinical competency through clinical education placements. However, currently little empirical information exists regarding how competency develops. Existing research about the effectiveness of placement types and models in developing competency are generally descriptive and based on opinions and perceptions. The changing nature of education of speech language pathology students, diverse student cohorts, and the crisis in finding sufficient clinical education placements mean that establishing the most effective and efficient methods for developing clinical competency in students is needed. Aims: To gather empirical information regarding the development of competence in speech language pathology students, and to determine if growth of competency differs in groups of students completing placements which differ in terms of caseload, intensity and setting. Methods & Procedures: Participants were students in the third year of a four year undergraduate speech language pathology degree, who completed 3 clinical placements across the year and were assessed with the COMPASS® competency assessment tool. Competency development for the whole group across the three placements is described. Growth of competency in groups of students completing different placement types is compared. Interval level data generated from the students’ COMPASS® results were subjected to parametric statistical analyses. Outcomes and Results: The whole group of students increased significantly in competency from placement to placement across different placement settings, intensities and client age groups. Groups completing child placements achieved significantly higher growth in competency when compared to competency growth of students completing adult placements. Growth of competency was not significantly different for students experiencing different intensity of placements, or different placement settings. Conclusions and Implications: These results confirm that the competency of speech language pathology students develops across three clinical placements over a one year period regardless of placement type or context, indicating that there may be transfer of learning between placements types. Further research investigating patterns of competency development in speech language pathology students is warranted to ensure that assumptions used to design clinical learning opportunities are based on valid evidence.
"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sheepway L, Lincoln M, McAllister S. Impact of placement type on the development of clinical competency in speech-language pathology students. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders . 2014 Mar-Apr;49(2):189-203. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12059., online 1 Nov 2013, which has been published in final form athttp://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12059. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."