Beyond NAVMEC: competency-based veterinary education and assessment of the professional competencies.J Vet Med Educ. 2013 Summer; 40(2):102-18.JV
The implementation of competency-based curricula within the health sciences has been an important paradigm shift over the past 30 years. As a result, one of the five strategic goals recommended by the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) report was to graduate career-ready veterinarians who are proficient in, and have the confidence to use, an agreed-upon set of core competencies. Of the nine competencies identified as essential for veterinary graduates, seven could be classified as professional or non-technical competencies: communication; collaboration; management (self, team, system); lifelong learning, scholarship, value of research; leadership; diversity and multicultural awareness; and adaptation to changing environments. Traditionally, the professional competencies have received less attention in veterinary curricula and their assessment is often sporadic or inconsistent. In contrast, the same or similar competencies are being increasingly recognized in other health professions as essential skills and abilities, and their assessment is being undertaken with enhanced scrutiny and critical appraisal. Several challenges have been associated with the assessment of professional competencies, including agreement as to their definition and therefore their evaluation, the fact that they are frequently complex and require multiple integrative assessments, and the ability and/or desire of faculty to teach and assess these competencies. To provide an improved context for assessment of the seven professional competencies identified in the NAVMEC report, this article describes a broad framework for their evaluation as well as specific examples of how these or similar competencies are currently being measured in medical and veterinary curricula.