Profession-Wide Competencies

Program Aim

The aim of the Sanford Health-Psychology Internship Consortium is to increase patient access to quality behavioral health services in rural America by creating a pathway within our organization to take pre-doctoral interns through to fully licensed and independently functioning psychologists, recognizing the critical role that psychologists play in the overall delivery of healthcare.

APA Professional-Wide Competencies & Learning Elements

It is expected that by the conclusion of the internship year, interns will have achieved competence demonstrating that they are prepared for entry level independent practice and licensure in the following areas:

Competency 1: Research

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Demonstration of the substantially independent ability to critically evaluate research or other scholarly materials (e.g., literature reviews, efficacy studies, clinical case studies)
  • Dissemination of research-based concepts at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level (e.g., case conference, presentation, publications)
  • Application of historical and contemporary scientific knowledge to inform clinical practice
  • Conduct research of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base
  • Participation in case conferences and/or medical grand rounds with healthcare professionals from other disciplines

Competency 2: Ethical and Legal Standards

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Knowledge of and adherence to the current version of each of the following:
    • the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct;
    • Relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and
    • Relevant professional standards and guidelines
  • Recognition of ethical dilemmas as they arise and the ability to apply ethical decision-making processes to resolve the dilemmas
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities

Competency 3: Individual and Cultural Diversity

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves, specifically within complex healthcare systems
  • Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service
  • The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups and apply this approach effectively in their professional work
  • The understanding and appreciation of “rurality” as a cultural variable

Competency 4: Professional Values & Attitudes

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision
  • Respond professionally to increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training
  • Accept responsibility for meeting deadlines, completing required documentation promptly and accurately

Competency 5: Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts relevant to healthcare delivery
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well

Competency 6: Assessment

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal and cultural)
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective
  • Clinical formulation and combining multiple data sources towards unified conclusions
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences, including service recipients and medical, nursing, and allied health professionals

Competency 7: Intervention

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services
  • Development of evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables
  • Implementation of evidence-based theories and tools for consultation with other health professionals
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation
  • Crisis intervention including skills in assessing, evaluating, and managing psychological emergencies

Competency 8: Supervision

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices
  • Apply supervision knowledge in direct or simulated practice with psychology trainees, or other health professionals. Examples of direct or simulated practice examples of supervision include, but are not limited to, role-played supervision with others, and peer supervision with other trainees
  • Apply the supervisory skill of observing in direct or simulated practice
  • Apply the supervisory skill of evaluating in direct or simulated practice;
  • Apply the supervisory skills of giving guidance and feedback in direct or simulated practice, particularly regarding peers’ clinical work in context of group supervision or case conference

Competency 9: Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Consultation

Learning Elements to achieve this competency include:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professionals typically encountered in complex health systems and settings
  • Apply the knowledge of consultation models and practices in direct or simulated consultation with individuals and their families, other health care professionals, inter-professional groups, or systems related to health and behavior
  • Engagement in interdisciplinary consultation and collaboration both formally and informally with particular emphasis on rural communities