Background and purpose.
The knowledge, skills, and abilities required of health care professionals change over time as a result of a multitude of factors. Some of these factors include newly published research, as well as changes in professional standards/requirements/training, reimbursement and third party payers, and legislation. It is incumbent upon the professional organization to ensure that its members understand the current knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to provide the best evidence-based care. Therefore, the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy commissioned a revalidation of the aquatic physical therapy competencies.
A purposive sample of 9 aquatic physical therapists provided feedback on the 174 competency statements from the original Aquatic Physical Therapy Description of Specialty Practice. After revision, a random sample of 249 Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy section members was selected for the 3 round Delphi validation process.
Demographic data from the random sample demonstrated sufficient diversity for the purposes of this study. However, none of these characteristics met criteria for normal distribution. Of the original 174 statements, 27 were revised, primarily for changes in language without substantive content or meaning changes. Two new items were added, and a previously included item was eliminated, resulting in 175 items.
The results of this study reflect changes in the language associated with physical therapist practice without major changes in the competencies required for practice. However, due to the broad nature of the competency statements themselves, this does not suggest that changes in the practice of aquatic physical therapy do not exist within those statements.
The Description of Specialty Practice in aquatic physical therapy has been updated and revised to reflect current practice. This information can provide a template for individuals, health care systems, and professional organizations for a number of important tasks including training, assessment, and educating key stakeholders.