For those of you who attended our annual general meeting this past month, you’ll know that relational regulation has been one of our key areas of focus over the past two years. In 2015 we commissioned a report from the professional communication’s company, OutsideIn, who made suggestions on how to make the College more relational. Part of this report was asking a focus group of registrants what could be improved. The feedback from the focus group was that there needed to be more support and communications for continuing education. The College has been working hard on developing a new continuing competency program to help opticians maintain and enhance their skills and knowledge.
What is continuing competency?
Continuing competency is the ongoing ability to meet complex demands by demonstrating the required knowledge, skill, judgement and attitude to practice safely and ethically in a designated role and setting.
What is our program like now?
Right now our continuing education program is based on a three-year cycle. Each registrant has to complete a certain number of courses in the areas of eyeglasses and contact lenses and a certain number of those need to be from a professional provider.
Many registrants have expressed that they take courses to complete the number of credits necessary to maintain their license rather than to further their knowledge of the professional.
What will the new program look like?
Our new continuing competency program will help each of our registrants create a professional development roadmap to focus learning which will include:
1) Competency Assessment which will generate a personalized competency profile for each registrant. Each competency is taken from the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators’ standardized competencies. Your competency profile will contain which competencies you excel at, which competencies you meet expectations in and which competencies you can focus development in. This will help you understand which competencies to focus professional development in.
2) Directed Bridging will be categorized according to competencies to help opticians know which activities are appropriate to work on any competency gaps. For some opticians, this will mean taking advanced courses of practice.
3) Learning Plan will allow opticians to set professional development goals such as which competencies to work on, record bridging activities, summary how the learning applies to practice and record any reflections.
Ultimately the goal of the continuing competency is to ensure you maintain the skills and competencies to practice and to focus learning and resources