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Massage therapists are regulated health care professionals in four Canadian provinces. They are autonomous practitioners and an integral part of the health care regime for patients with complicated health presentations. At an end-of-year meeting of the massage therapy faculty team, we discussed the performance of our students. At this particular meeting, several instructors mentioned having concerns about our senior students.
This led to an informal evaluation of the Massage Therapy Program at Humber College after five years of delivery, which illuminated concerns about what faculty members described as a lack of critical thinking skills. Throughout our sixth year of delivery, we continued to better understand this issue and develop a solution. And, for the most part, were satisfied with their competence performing assessments and clinical skills.
Faculty members wondered how successful our graduates would be in clinical practice and began to strategize potential solutions. Capability In , the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario CMTO instituted its first competency document, which outlined the attitudes, knowledge, and skills required of registered massage therapists as they entered practice.
As such, educational programs adopted the document and shifted curriculum to ensure students could demonstrate these competencies by graduation.
In order to achieve this goal, it was important to balance competence in the entry-to-practice attitudes, skills, and knowledge, with other skills that allow students to be successful in complex clinical environments. Competence is what students know or are able to demonstrate and is described in terms of attitudes, skills and knowledge. We wondered what we could change in our approaches to teaching and learning that would support capability.