Public policy and professional practice: The relationship of state regulation to continuing competency perceptions and behaviors of occupational therapists

Yvette Denise Mayhan, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

A considerable amount of controversy exists in the professional communities about the usefulness of regulatory interventions for assuring the continued competency of professionals. The reported lack of regulatory board effectiveness in carrying out its assigned duties, over-reliance upon the disciplinary process to identify incompetent professionals, and the lack of evidence relating continuing education to competence are indicted as three fundamental problems, among many cited, with the current regulatory system. ^ This research examines the relationship of the state regulatory requirements to occupational therapists' and assistants' perceptions and participation in activities regarding continued competency. The research questions are: (1) Does state regulated continuing competency influence the continuing competency perceptions and behaviors of occupational therapists and assistants? (2) Are the state requirements for evidence of continuing competency likely to influence practitioners to practice competently for the protection of the public? ^ Several of the relationships proposed in the research design were tested through descriptive analysis and synthesis of data contained in a random survey database of the National Commission on Continued Competency in Occupational Therapy, and the development, analysis and synthesis of two comprehensive data bases on state regulatory requirements for continued competency and disciplinary actions. ^ The results of the study indicate that state regulation does have an influence on the continued competency perceptions and participation in continued competency activities of OTs/OTAs, particularly related to the selection of continued competency activities, and perceptions about the importance of and whether or not continued competency should be mandatory. However, discernment of the relationship between state regulation and what professionals actually do in practice and how it impacts consumer safety and protection was more elusive due to the inadequacy of measures of practice available for analysis. Analysis of the impact of employer requirements for continued competency suggests that employers may have an influence, however, more research is needed to determine the strength of the association. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy|Education, Adult and Continuing|Political Science, Public Administration|Health Sciences, Health Care Management

Recommended Citation

Yvette Denise Mayhan, "Public policy and professional practice: The relationship of state regulation to continuing competency perceptions and behaviors of occupational therapists" (January 1, 2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI9976453.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9976453

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