Guadalupe Rodriguez, Victoria de Juan Herraez, Sara Ortiz-Toquero, Raul Martin


Objective:The purpose of this study was to define the core competenciesto include in an undergraduate optometry placement program.

Methods:We selected a participatory 12-month action-research project approach to define a set of core competencies to drive the learning process during optometryplacements. Four stages were scheduled; 1) literature review(focus group to define a list of competencies); 2) assessment by university optometry staff(one wave Delphi survey); 3) assessment by external stakeholders, [final year students(n=25), optometrists in practice (n=20) and members of The College of Optometrists Board (n=9)] prior to the development of placements (Likert scale, on-line questionnaire); 4) placement development and analysis including students’ logbook reviews by the research team andstudents’ and placement supervisors’ feedback.

Results:72 core competencies classified into 8 major units was proposed after the focus group analysis (General Optical Council (UK), ASCO (EEUU); Optometry Australia and The Canadian Examiners in Optometry mapping) with high levels of consensus between university staff members (Delphi survey) and external stakeholders.Acompetencies-based logbook was created and used during student placements yielding high levels of satisfaction amongst both students and supervisors (7.6±1.2 and 7.4±1.6 over 10 respectively).

Conclusions:This study demonstrates the use of a systematic method toobjectively develop undergraduate core competenciesby asking different external and internal university stakeholdersto identify competencies that are relevant inday-to-day professional practice. Similar methodology could be used in other programs, and provides rational and transparent means of developing competenciesin the education ofhealth care students.


Primary Care Education; Clinical Education; Qualitative Research Methods; Competency-Based Education.

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