Evolution of vocational rehabilitation competencies in Australia
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Over the past decade, there has been growth in the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services globally, as countries seek to control disability-related expenditure, yet there has been minimal research outside the United States on competencies required to work in this area. This study reports on research conducted in Australia to determine current job function and knowledge areas in terms of their importance and frequency of use in the provision of vocational rehabilitation. A survey comprising items from the Rehabilitation Skills Inventory-Amended and International Survey of Disability Management was completed by 149 rehabilitation counselors and items submitted to factor analysis. T-tests and analyses of variance were used to determine differences between scores of importance and frequency and differences in scores based on work setting and professional training. Six factors were identified as important and frequently used: (i) vocational counseling, (ii) professional practice, (iii) personal counseling, (iv) rehabilitation case management, (v) workplace disability case management, and (vi) workplace intervention and program management. Vocational counseling, professional practice and personal counseling were significantly more important and performed more frequently by respondents in vocational rehabilitation settings than those in compensation settings. These same three factors were rated significantly higher in importance and frequency by those with rehabilitation counselor training when compared with those with other training. In conclusion, although 'traditional' knowledge and skill areas such as vocational counseling, professional practice, and personal counseling were identified as central to vocational rehabilitation practice in Australian rehabilitation agencies, mean ratings suggest a growing emphasis on knowledge and skills associated with disability management practice.
International Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Copyright 2010 LWW. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, Volume 33 - Issue 2 - pp 124-133. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.
Health and Community Services
Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy)