Developing a competency framework for Health Professions Education at doctoral level: The first step toward a competency based education

Introduction: The aim of this study was to develop the competency framework for Doctoral graduates in Health Professions Education, which is the first step in implementing an outcome-based curriculum.

Method: The present study conducted in three phases. First, viewpoints of 100 stakeholders, including students, graduates, faculty members, and educational managers were explored by using Nominal Group technique, survey, and telephone interviews. The extracted codes classified in subcategories and categories through an inductive content analysis approach. In phase two, the findings converted to competency components, sub-domains and competency domains in working groups. Finally, the content validity of the developed components evaluated through qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Results: 535 codes, 12 sub-categories, and 7 categories extracted from stakeholders’ viewpoints, which were refined to 65 competency components, 12 sub-domains and 7 competency domains in working groups. The final competency framework includes 54 competency components in seven competency domains of a “professional expert”, “research and scholarship”, “teaching”, “interdisciplinary collaboration”, “leadership and management”, “professionalism”, “personal and professional development”.

Conclusion: Competency framework is essential for the development of a comprehensive and integrated curriculum. It would be possible to implement a competency-based curriculum in the Doctoral program of Health Professions Education by developing the competency framework.