In the 2021 Member Survey, 88% of respondents said they do not feel they are adequately informed about Continuing Competence and would like to receive more information. The most asked question around Continuing Competence is “what’s the difference between continuing education (CE) and self-directed (SD) activities?”
Backing up, just a little, let’s look at why there even is a continuing competence program. As part of the Health Professions Act (HPA) all regulated health professions are required to maintain currency in their practice and knowledge through a Continuing Competence (CC) program. The CC program requires all members to evaluate their own skills and pursue additional education or learning to address any deficiencies. Members are also permitted to pursue additional areas of interest for a portion of their program requirements. All regulated members must meet the requirements of the CC program to be eligible to renew their practice permit each year.
The current Continuing Competence program is broken down into continuing education (CE) activities and self-directed (SD) activities. The major difference between CE and SD activities, is that CE are professional development courses that meet the College’s Continuing Education Standards while SD activities are offered by providers who have not sought CE approval or offer activities that do not qualify as a CE activity.
So, what is considered a continuing education activity?
Continuing education activities are College-approved courses or seminars. The College has a list of formal educational courses that are directly related to five of the paramedic roles defined by the Paramedic Association of Canada (PAC): clinician, professional, educator, advocate and team member. Continuing education activities must also be inclusive opportunities to all members they cannot be opportunities exclusive to a select set of regulated members. To be considered continuing education, program and course providers must first seek approval from the College. It is important to note that the College receives no compensation or “kick-back” from any program it approves.
The full list of approved CE activities can be found here. This list is continually updated as new activities are approved.
So, what are considered self-directed activities?
Self-directed activities are professional development activities identified by regulated members based on specific interests and learning needs. These activities do not need to meet the College’s Continuing Education Standards; however, they must provide intellectual and/or practical knowledge that is relevant to your practice setting or to your professional and ethical obligations in the provision of care.
Self-directed activities may pertain to current practice or future goals. Some examples of self-directed activities include workplace training, certification courses, participation in a working group or committee and research and development. This category supports the role of the reflective practitioner by encouraging members to self-reflect on their own interests and engage in a structure of lifelong learning.
Regulated members must fulfill a minimum of 60 credits per registration year and at least 30 of those credits must be continuing education activities from the approved list of activities. More information on CE and SD activities can be found here. If you have any questions about Continuing Competence, please email CC@ABparamedics.com.