Protect Your Practice

Assessing the ability of an individual

As a practice manager, you know that recruiting the right staff with the right skills is crucial for your practice to run smoothly. Competency assessments assess the ability of an individual to perform a task to a desired level of competency and can be used when recruiting new staff and for long-term employees. It is not about whether your employee is able to do the task better than others, but whether they are competent to perform. To be competent, the employee must independently complete tasks that provide the assessor with evidence that the performance criteria of each element has been met.
The simplified process is:

  • Assess skill or requirement
(This can be self-assessment or by an assessor Competent or Not Yet Competent.)
  • If competent
No further action required.
  • If not yet competent
Provide training; this may be internal or external.
  • Reassess following training
Competent or Not Yet Competent

When recruiting new staff you should ensure that they are competent in the skills and tasks they are being employed for. For practice staff, ongoing education is an integral component of their professional development and as a result, competency assessment is an ongoing process of continually building knowledge and skills.

For many professionals (doctors, nurses, allied health) they are required to participate in continuing professional development (CPD) so that they maintain their professional accreditation and registration. AHPRA - Registration Standards

Practice manager professional development

While not mandatory, practice managers can also maintain their own professional development as part of the AAPM Certified Practice Manager program and AAPM Fellowship Program.

For other staff (reception, administrative), the competency assessment may form part of their performance appraisal process. Competencies that are reflective of the practice policies and procedures can be created and assessed throughout the year.


  • Collecting, analysing and organising informationThe capacity to locate, sift and sort information in order to select what is required and to present it in a useful way, and evaluate both the information itself and the sources and methods used to collect it.
  • Working with others in teamsThe capacity to interact effectively with other people both on a one-to-one basis and in groups, including understanding and responding to the needs of a patient and working effectively as a member of a team to achieve a shared goal.

An environment of continual learning

Adopting a competency assessment system within your practice will encourage an environment of continual learning and acquisition of new skills. The competent/not competent forms of assessment enhance the philosophy of having staff able to perform particular tasks as opposed to a hierarchy system of who is the best at performing that task.

There is also an opportunity for practice staff to achieve competencies that will assist practices and give the staff member a qualification pathway. For example, sterilisation, CPR, infection control, certificate courses.

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This publication is proudly brought to you by Avant Mutual Group. The content was authored by Brett McPherson, reviewed by Colleen Sullivan and Avant Mutual Group.

This publication is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2014.

IMPORTANT: Professional indemnity insurance products and Avant’s Practice Medical Indemnity Policy are issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765. The information provided here is general advice only. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us. For full details including the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply, please read and consider the policy wording and PDS, which is available at or by contacting us on 1800 128 268. Practices need to consider other forms of insurance including directors’ and officers’ liability, public and products liability, property and business interruption insurance, and workers compensation and you should contact your insurance broker for more information. Cover is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy. Any advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the product is appropriate for you before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us.