Clinical Competencies for Burn Rehabilitation Therapists

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Nationally agreed-upon standards for competence are needed for burn physical and occupational rehabilitation therapists (BRTs) to define what constitutes safe and competent burn rehabilitation practice. Currently, consensus regarding the knowledge and skill components needed for the training and evaluation of BRT job performance is lacking. The Rehabilitation Committee of the American Burn Association used a staged, multimethod approach and input from more than 25 experts in the burn rehabilitation community to develop competency standards for BRTs. The result was the “Burn Rehabilitation Therapist Competency Tool” (BRTCT) that defines competency domains required of BRTs to provide physical and occupational therapy to patients with burn injury during their initial acute hospitalization and rehabilitation. This article describes the staged development and validation of the BRTCT. The component parts of the tool itself are presented, and the recommendations for assessment of competence are discussed. The BRTCT provides a common framework and language for expectations of performance in burn rehabilitation. Development of the BRTCT is a critical step in the ongoing process of promoting professional development and consistent practice standards in burn rehabilitation.

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