CORE COMPETENCIES AND DOMAINS OF LEARNING
The knowledge base of the Vocational Rehabilitation profession is divided into a number of domains which reflect major areas of knowledge. These domains were constructed by examining the field and other similar professional designations (e.g., CCRC, CDMP, RRP, etc.).
1. Vocational Rehabilitation Theory and Practice:
This is a fairly large and complex domain in that it contains the foundational information of the profession. It includes such topics as: history of vocational rehabilitation profession, models of vocational rehabilitation, the value of vocational rehabilitation (e.g., why do it), legal foundation, other professions which provide services to vocational rehabilitation professionals, legal implications (e.g., expert witness), etc.
2. Aspects of Disabilities:
The VR professional needs to have a clear understanding of the wide range of disabilities and their implications: work related injuries / illness, non-work related injuries / illnesses, congenital disabilities, physical disabilities, psychological disabilities, preventative approaches, trends in disabilities (e.g.. rise of psychological disabilities), etc.
3. Vocational Interviewing and Counselling:
Typically, this is the first step in the VR process and every professional should have skills in these areas. This domain examines the techniques and implications of vocational interviewing: what information is important, how is trust built, what should be documented, how to elicit information, etc. The professional also needs a solid understanding of vocational counselling techniques including: understanding the end-goal, understanding the client needs / goals, working with the difficult client, moving the client forward, cross-cultural / gender implications, development of return to work plan, etc.
Not all VR professionals will undertake assessments of clients but everyone needs to have a clear understanding of their uses and implications. There should be an understanding of: when assessments are used, the types of assessments which can be used (e.g., aptitude, interest, achievement), what the various assessments test, how to read and understand an assessment, defining the questions to be asked of the assessor, transferable skills analysis, using computer software programs, statistics (e.g., standard deviation, mean, median, mode, etc.), etc.
One of the major directions within all professions over the past number of years is the understanding of the diversity of clients. This domain examines the various diverse groups (e.g., gender, cultural, racial, sexual orientation, etc.) and the implications for the VR process. VR professionals should understand: how to identify one’s own biases, working with diverse groups, using community / family resources, understanding the implications of diversity on return to work, etc.
6. Job Development and Placement:
Getting individuals with disability characteristics into or back into the workforce is one of the main tenets of the VR profession and this domain is at the heart of what many professionals undertake on an ongoing basis. This domain examines: understanding limitations / restrictions, understanding job demands, hidden job market, resume construction, interview skills, locating a job placement, job club, job coaching, co-worker model, monitoring, job development, etc.
7. Case / Disability Management:
This domain covers two fairly broad areas: case management and disability management. In Case Management, professionals need to have an understanding of: working with the medical community, working with insurance carriers (including the compensation system), using community resources, referrals to additional resources, the rehabilitation process, rehabilitation professionals, etc. Disability Management covers such areas as: early contact, early intervention, working with management / labour groups, job accommodation, job modification, work related restrictions / limitations, graduated return to work, etc
8. Ethical and Professional Conduct:
This domain examines the ethical foundation for professionals’ work. This would include: determining ethical dilemmas, understanding conflicting values, examining possible decisions and their short / long term implications, codes of ethics, legal responsibilities, etc. In addition, this domain covers the VR professional’s well-being (e.g., burn out, relaxation, healthy life-style, etc.)
9. Communication and Record Keeping:
This domain examines: keeping accurate records, what should / should not be documented, communication with other professionals, file and document security, speaking to a group, use of computer programs (such as word processor, PowerPoint, Excel), adult learning, release of information, etc.
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