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Continuing Competence – CEU vs. Reflective

Continuing Competence

In order to acquire a professional license, people must continue their education and provide the College or association with proof of continuing competence. In our most recent posts about the different parts of Continuing Competence (self-assessment,jurisprudence, etc.), there are many ways Colleges will ask members to show they are looking to improve themselves throughout their professional career. Continuing competence is kept track of in two ways: the reflective way or through continuing education units (CEU).

Reflective Model

Reflective is qualitative, so the College must read and review content the member has provided to make sure they are competent. For example, the College will require members to provide written responses to questions about the courses they’ve taken, summaries of their goals and self-assessments, peer reviews, and any other unique requirement from different regulatory bodies.

Using the reflective model, a registrant will identify specific goals that they have for themselves relative to their practice.  Using the self-assessment tool or jurisprudence exam is a great way for registrants to self-identify the weaker areas in their practice. They may also find areas that they want to improve in by getting feedback from their patients, or by simply determining other directions they want their careers to go in.

After the member has identified a goal that they want to set for themselves, they should ideally be able to publish its description in their online profile in the regulatory bodies association management software they use.

Once the registration year is over (or the CPD year, if they are offset) the registrant comes back to the system to reflect on the goals that they set for themselves. In reflecting, they identify if they’ve achieved their goals, how they achieved them, and what impact it had on their practice (if any). If their goal has not been achieved, they can reflect on why not and what they plan to do about it.

As a final step – the registrant re-self-assesses and sets new goals for the upcoming year.

How to fairly evaluate

The question now is how to fairly evaluate competence using the reflective model?

It starts off by determining how registrants are asked to record their competency goals. A great example of a continuing competence program using the reflective model can be found on the CLPNA website by clicking here. In their SAT, they ask members to write about their strengths and areas for professional development in various categories (accountability, knowledge, service, ethical practice, etc.). After the member has done the SAT, they write their new goals (which is part of the CCP).

College admin evaluate the goals by making sure the member has written information relevant to his or her career. They make sure the goal is reasonable, applicable, relevant, explains how the goal can be attained, and if the member knows how close they currently are to the goal from evaluating there strengths and weaknesses in the SAT. If the goals express that the member wants to learn something they should already know, example, an RN saying he or she “would like to learn how to do IVs this year,” then that would be unacceptable.

The goals are usually not reviewed unless under an audit, but the goal is not editable in the following year, so if the member has written something irrelevant or unattainable, they will not pass the audit.

Continuing Education Units

CEU is quantitative, which means the members have a CEU cycle, where they must do a number of courses to collect a certain amount of credits over the length of the cycle (for example, 45 credits every 3 years). Different courses and exams are worth various amounts of credits, and some of them are mandatory (such as the jurisprudence exam), so these credits are not hard to acquire. Some Colleges let their members seek out their own courses and submit their completion reports to the College to receive CEUs, however, the courses must be approved or deemed “relevant” by the College in order to be eligible for CEUs.

With so many courses available how do your members choose the right ones for themselves and their practice? Some Colleges, to help their members avoid wasting time at an irrelevant course, will provide them with a list of the best courses they can choose from to get CEUs.

The amount of CEUs required in each profession is different from province to province. How do you decide if an out-of-province member has finished relevant course work to your province? This is where you might have to test them, ask them to write a research essay on the topic, or even get them to redo the exam from your province – in many cases a regulatory will have a bridging program available for out of province or out of country members.

Cloud-based Association Management Software

With either method, reflective or CEU, a cloud-based association management software would make it easier to keep track of Continuing Competence as a member or a College or association. A cloud-based solution is beneficial because members will be able to submit their competence forms or even check their competence status from any device, anywhere, at any time. The continuing competence data would also securely be stored in the cloud, where it is safer than a less modern LAN server.

Looking for new association management software to procure? Use our software procurement checklist. This tool will help your association find the AMS that fits it the best. Click on the button below to download now!