In with the outputs and out with the inputs: A need for better tracking and research on professional psychology practicum hours
2020 The Australian Psychological Society Objective: Accreditation guidelines for professional psychology training have shifted from specifying educational inputs to emphasising attainment of core competency outputs. However, attention to both inputs and outputs are needed. Clinical practicum logs represent a neglected source of information to help guide training program development. The present article describes the development and preliminary data from a purpose-built electronic web-based log application for recording practicum activities. Method: Participants were 76 university clinical psychology trainees who had completed at least 1,000 hr of practicum. Trainees recorded the time engaged in various practicum activities into the electronic log application. Results: Trainees recorded practicum hours across 74 different placements. Most (43%) of the 72,494 entries were for activities supporting direct client work such as preparation and case notes. Direct client contact (37%) and supervision (20%) were next most frequent. On average, each trainee saw 78 clients for individual work and the average number of contacts was 3.69. The most frequent primary problems treated were anxiety disorders (28%) and depressive disorders (16%). Treatment of substance use disorders was rare (2%) as was work with older adults (2.6%), despite high needs in communities. Conclusions: This descriptive study provides an example of an electronic log application and preliminary data from the application. The need to link such data to competency assessments is highlighted, as this will provide stronger evidence-based decision making regarding minimum training standards. Further, by allowing real-time monitoring of student progress, such applications can inform decisions about individual trainee's practicum progress and needs.