REPs is working hard to ensure that its members gain the recognition they deserve from the medical sector and for this reason it must be ensured that all those dealing with patients in a clinical setting are able to carry out their role safely and effectively.
The National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the fitness sector are created by SkillsActive, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing. These Standards describe the knowledge, competence and skills required to carry out specific roles in the industry and are agreed by experts, employers, training providers and awarding organisations. REPs recognises those individuals who can provide evidence that they meet these agreed standards.
SkillsActive has a specific technical expert group for level 4 conditions which makes strategic decisions regarding technical aspects of the physical activity and Health NOS, level 4 REPs categories and progression pathways. This group of experts made the decision that from September 2011 you must first have the level 3 Exercise Referral qualification as a pre requisite to be able to access the Register at level 4.
This decision was made for a number of reasons, outlined below, and reflects the knowledge and skills that would be expected by the sector of Specialist Exercise Instructors:
- The standards at level 4 have been written to outline the knowledge and skills required to work safely with patients with often chronic and complex medical conditions
- In order to safely and effectively programme exercise it is essential that the level 4 Specialist Exercise Instructor is aware of: the range of diseases which may present and how each of them may be managed; how physical activity/inactivity influences the disease process; an understanding of relevant medications; and any related psychological/sociological factors
- The increasing complexity at level 4 also takes into account the fact that many patients presenting with a level 4 specific condition may also have other co morbidities
- A broad baseline knowledge will allow instructors to identify more readily the risks associated with physical activity for these patients/ clients, and as a consequence will help to identify any individuals whose requirements fall outside their scope of practice and limits of competence
- In order to ensure a consistency of knowledge held by level 4 Specialist Exercise Instructors
N.B. The only exception to the requirement for Level 3 Exercise Referral is where a member was registered at Level 4 prior to September 2011/where a Level 4 award was achieved prior to September 2011 AND the instructor holds another Level 3 fitness qualification.