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WHO Launches Recently Established Rehabilitation Competency Framework


Complete with its own launch event on February 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the initiation of their new Rehabilitation Competency Framework (RCF). In development since 2017, this framework is designed to serve the needs of countries whose rehabilitation workforce is under-equipped to meet their population's pressing needs, whether due to large-scale shortages across professions and specializations or issues of quality and relevance.

The RCF endeavors to meet the escalating demand for rehabilitation by expanding workforce production and strengthening regulation and quality assurance mechanisms in low resource settings. This framework will help accomplish these goals by supporting competency-based education, training, and regulatory standards as well as the development of instruments for performance appraisal and gap analysis, among a number of other applications.

The WHO, along with partners, developed this framework in order to offer a structure that can be adopted and adapted by virtually any rehabilitation professional group or specialization and for any setting. The RCF defines the core values and beliefs shared by the rehabilitation workforce and encompasses the competencies, behaviors, knowledge and skills required to perform the wide range of activities and tasks involved in rehabilitation practice and service delivery. 

ARN Member RCF Steering Group Participants

The RCF Competency Framework Steering group includes two Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) luminaries nominated by the WHO to participate as the committee's only designated nurse members. They include Past ARN Presidents Stephanie Vaughn, PhD RN CRRN FAHA and Michele Cournan, DNP RN ANP-BC FNP CRRN. Their nomination came with help from the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and ICN Vice President and ANA President Pam Cipriano, who advanced the opportunity through the nursing community and selected Vaughn and Courman.

The RCF Competency Framework was established to review both the structure and the content of the framework. Beginning later this month, Cournan and Vaughn will meet with the Competency Framework Steering Group in Geneva, Switzerland, as the group seeks to:

  • Provide expert opinion on the competency framework structure, language, scope and content to ensure that it achieves its intended goals
  • Help coordinate the dissemination of drafts for peer review by relevant organizations
  • Support the translation of feedback into concrete and meaningful recommendations​

Special recognition and thanks to the following ARN members who also contributed to this project: 

  • Jynae Clapper, MSN RN CRRN
  • Kathy Clark, MSN RN CRRN FARN
  • Maureen Musto, MS RN APRN-CNS ACNS-BC CRRN
  • Anne Ruggiero, BSN RN CRRN
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