Occupational therapists’ views on core competencies that graduates need to work in the field of neurology in a South African context

BACKGROUND: The burden of neurologically related conditions in South Africa (SA) necessitates that undergraduate occupational therapy education and training provide students with core competencies to deliver comprehensive, effective client-centred interventions. Given developments in the practice of neurology and changes in policy, funding and infrastructure, it is essential that training remains relevant and responsive to the needs of individuals and their context. Occupational therapists should be in touch with the local context and its challenges and consider the practicalities of the suggested interventionsOBJECTIVES: To explore occupational therapists' perspectives on the knowledge, skills and attitudes that graduates need to work in the field of neurologyMETHODS: An explorative qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews was conducted with 10 occupational therapists in Western Cape Province, SA. Data were analysed using inductive analysisRESULTS: Four themes emerged from the findings, including foundational knowledge and skills, intra- and interpersonal attitudes, suggestions to consider when revising a neurology curriculum and resource constraintsCONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted that, in addition to neurology-specific skills, graduates also require core generic knowledge, skills and attitudes that address the evolving needs of society. These competencies are further necessary to allow graduates to work within the constraints of the health and educational systems
Occupational therapists, competencies, neurology, South African