Same Label – Different Product
In 1988 I was part of a group that made a recommendation that individuals with a specific occupational title met the criteria to work within a particular defined area of sport. The recommendation was the correct one at that time, as those practitioners had the training, scope of practice and skill set necessary to meet the requirements of the role for which they were being considered.
Now, nearly 30 years on from that recommendation being made, the criteria still remains the same even though the training, education and skill set of those individuals under that occupational title have changed considerably. Unfortunately, decisions on their employment and appointments are still being based upon those recommendations that were made all that time ago, even though it is unequivocally, an example of “same label, different product”.
Another related issue that frequently arises, is where mature members of that profession, who may themselves have met the criteria when the recommendation was first made, still think that those who are graduating and following them are the same. Consequently, the comment “…but we do that” is often heard when in fact the reality is not true. It is yet another clear indication as to why regular reviews are needed to ensure that the knowledge, skills and expertise of those being employed do actually meet the criteria for the role that they are going to fulfil.
Doctor, Nurse, Physiotherapist, Sports Therapist, Teacher etc. are examples of occupational titles that in no way reflect the breadth of knowledge, skills and areas in which each professional may be involved. Consequently, when roles are being advertised they should be more descriptive in relation to what is required, clearly reflecting the skill set needed, rather than only using the title. More importantly, it is the scope of practice and skill set that should be considered and prioritised. The emphasis must then be on those attributes rather than occupational labels. This would then ensure that the person being appointed had the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise to specifically fit the role and its requirements.
As stated previously, at the time that the original recommendation was made, it was correct. However, now it is not! The main reason being that other professions, including Sports Therapy, have now evolved and, not only meet the criteria but also have the scope of practice, knowledge and skills that have been defined and refined, in order to meet the needs of a specific sport and the sports industry in general. In the meantime, those practitioners for whom the recommendation was made, have followed a different academic pathway, which in reality leads to the requirements of another environment. Hence the reason for regular reviews being made and educational programmes being moderated. This will then ensure that rules and regulations are modified appropriately and that the health, safety and wellbeing of all those who are to be protected by the practitioners concerned, is being achieved.
Consequently, this is one instance where, what it says on the tin does not necessarily apply to what it does. So, let’s forget the label and review the product instead!