ISPO to update guidelines for international education

LEIPZIG, Germany — Daniel Blocka, BSc(Hons), CO(c), FCBC, past president of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, presented an overview at the OT World Congress of the organization’s international orthotic and prosthetic education initiatives.

Daniel Blocka

The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) devised educational guidelines with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 that delineated practitioner competency into categories 1, 2 or 3. Since then, educational guidelines have allowed for more flexible curriculum and curriculum design, including modular, single discipline, e-learning and blended learning,

along with the growth of category 1 and 2 learning.

Much has changed since the initial WHO/ISPO guidelines were developed, Blocka said, and he expects the guidelines to soon be reviewed for important updates. Additionally, the downloadable ISPO information packages are somewhat outdated, he said, and they are expected to be updated to meet category standards.

For category 1, the professional competencies will need to be updated continually, Blocka said. “For those who are new graduates or soon-to-be graduates just coming into the profession, there will be a lot of different pressures to practice in different ways in the future,” he said. Practitioners increasingly will be required to use evidence-based treatment protocols. Credentials are shifting with completion of a master’s degree level program becoming a more widespread requirement.

Consequently, “more original category 2 programs are shifting to category 1,” Blocka said.  “Now we have a process for upgrading category 2 professionals to category 1.”

Blocka said he expects ISPO to begin recognizing category 3 technician-level programs in the near future.

Continuing education is a critical component in O&P, but there is a need for better support from O&P organizations, schools and associations, he said.

Blocka stressed the importance of supporting new graduates in the field, either through residency or internship programs or mentoring.

“The primary O&P practitioners need to be more inventive and entrepreneurial, be leaders and take ownership for the profession,” he said. “You are coming out into a changing profession, and it takes young leaders to enter the field and take a leadership role in the profession moving forward.” — by Carey Cowles

For more information:

Blocka D. Education and continuing education international. Presented at: OT World Congress; May 12-16, 2014; Leipzig, Germany.

Disclosure: Blocka has no relevant financial disclosures. 

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