The RACGP Curriculum provides a competency framework based on what are considered to be the essential qualities of an Australian general practitioner. The curriculum describes five domains of general practice, within which there are thirteen high-level core skills. These are further sub-divided into numerous competency outcomes. Each core skill is a statement of an end point that indicates achievement of competence in a key area of general practice. The core skills describe the “what” of being a general practitioner. For assessment purposes consideration needs to be given to how these can be assessed.
Competencies can be defined as “simple or more complex tasks a successful candidate must be able to handle, and during which she/he uses at the right time, the correct and relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes and meta-cognitions to manage the task successfully” 1 . Competencies are behavioural descriptors and need a strong link to clinical practice.
The five domains of general practice are thematic groups of competencies that family physicians integrate into practice. The domains are broad and, in the case of the second domain, really large. To enable clinical assessment 10 clinical competencies have been described and mapped to the core skills of the curriculum. This arrangement allows for a synthesis of competency outcomes across and within the five domains, serving to emphasise key areas of consultation and of practice. Each competency has a specific focus, describing not only the clinical consultation but also areas of professionalism, general practice systems and other areas not commonly assessed. There is also a focus on clinical reasoning and specific clinical competencies described to facilitate assessment and feedback on this.
In addition to the ten core competencies, two further contextual units add to the curriculum. These units are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and Rural health.