The College frequently receives questions from kinesiologists about the scope of practice and what activities they are able to undertake. This article addresses some of these questions and provides guidance to kinesiologists also registered in another profession.
Determining scope of practice
The scope of practice of kinesiology is defined as “the assessment of human movement and performance and its rehabilitation and management to maintain, rehabilitate or enhance movement and performance.”
This scope is broad and includes many distinct areas of practice, which may be referred to differently, but are considered kinesiology services. Some examples include athletic therapy, ergonomics, exercise physiology, strength conditioning and rehabilitation therapy. At the same time, there are many types of therapies, competencies or practices that are not within scope, such as diet prescription, psychological counselling or vision testing.
It's important for you to understand when you are practising within scope and when you are not. Engaging in some competencies or performing certain job functions that are out of scope is not strictly prohibited. However, if this is the case, it's important that you:
- explain to your patients/clients which aspects of the care you are providing that are out of scope,
- indicate to them the training you have received to perform these functions,
- obtain informed consent, and
- recognize that you are responsible for all care provided.
Fully engaging in practise that is out of scope and considered under the scope of another health profession is never permitted. Kinesiologists are also not allowed to perform controlled acts unless appropriate delegation has been made or it is an emergency care situation.
Personal sphere of competence
It’s also important that you objectively and realistically evaluate your personal sphere of competence. Because the scope of practice of kinesiology is so broad, it would not be expected that you practise in all areas. Practising out of your own sphere of competence is as much of a concern, in terms of public safety, as practising out of scope.
For example, a kinesiologist primarily practises in ergonomics may not feel that they have sufficient competence to also practise independently in cardiac rehabilitation. Other examples might be working with a specific segment of the population. For example, not all kinesiologists would have the experience and expertise to work with seriously frail patients/clients with multiple complications, or to provide the support and care necessary to athletes injured on the playing field.
For kinesiologists who are registered with another health professions regulator (dual registrants), the issue becomes more about when you stop providing treatment as a kinesiologist and when you start providing treatment under the other profession. When providing services under more than one scope, you must ensure that you:
- are transparent about what services you are providing and when,
- make a clear separation with respect to the billing,
- ensure the health record reflects what service is being provided, and
- ensure that you are not in a conflict of interest if recommending additional services which you also provide.
For more information, refer to the College’s Practice Standard- Dual Health Care and the Practice Guideline- Scope of Practice, Controlled Acts and Delegation.