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Highlights from the Post: How to prepare for a Mandatory Practice Assessment

This is the abbreviated version of Holly's original blog post 'How to Prepare for a Mandatory Practice Assessment'. Holly practices as a physiotherapist in Ontario so the focus of the blog is based on the Practice Assessment from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO).

In Ontario, 5% of registrants with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO) are randomly selected annually for the mandatory practice assessment. Once you have been selected and have completed the assessment, you are not eligible again for random selection for another 5 years, or even less (another 3 years) if you are rostered to perform any authorized activities.



3 Tips To Prepare  For The Practice Assessment


1) Start Early

  • Start keeping your professional portfolio up to date from the time you graduate (even though registrants aren’t eligible for selection until 3 years after having an independent practice license).

  • Keep a running list of courses, workshops, conferences, continuing education sessions and the dates you attended.
  • Once you get selected for a practice assessment, you have 3 months to complete it. Schedule your assessment based on how much time you need to prepare.




2) Know what to expect

There are 4 main components to the actual practice assessment:

1. Practice Questions/Essential Reading

  • These are the pre-determined questions that the assessor is guaranteed to ask you.
  • The questions will be listed in your Quality Management (QM) registration package online under the “Practice Assessment Forms.”
  • They will likely require you to review your practice against the professional standards, and see how and where your practice meets or doesn’t meet the standards. You can find a copy of these forms on the CPO Practice Assessment information page here.
  • Your workplace/clinic policy and procedures manual will likely be a useful resource in answering your practice issues and business practices questions, so be sure to consult this manual.
    • The manual should also include all samples of forms provided to patients, including intake forms, privacy forms, consent forms, and release of information forms. It should also have the clinic’s privacy policy clearly outlined.
  • You will be asked questions on the following during your practice assessment:
    • Practice Issues (questions relating to patient safety, privacy, consent, using support personnel etc)
    • Business Practices (questions relating to fees, billing, conflict of interest etc)
    • Record Keeping Evaluation (how patient information is managed, organized and documented etc)
    • Education Verification (ie acupuncture)
    • A course/conference/ or learning activity you have engaged in
    • A patient case where you struggled to find a solution
    • A peer/colleague interaction that has influenced or changed your practice

2. Chart Review

  • You will be asked to select 4-6 recent patient charts for review.
  • At least 2 charts need to be from recently discharged patients (so will need a discharge summary included).
  • If you perform a controlled act, at least one your charts must include a patient where you use one of these approaches.
  • If you commonly use abbreviations in your notes, have an abbreviations list handy for your assessor to be able to understand your chart notes.
  • You can learn more about standard for record keeping here, or read the guide to record keeping here.
  • The record keeping checklist is particularly useful when writing and preparing your charts and need a quick reference.

3. Portfolio Review

  • Your professional portfolio is mandatory
  • It is comprised of documented learning/professional development activities and a description of learning outcomes to demonstrate evidence of ongoing learning and improvement.
  • A common misconception is that the portfolio is simply a list of courses you have attended and the certificates demonstrating your attendance.
  • It should also include learning plans, SMART learning goals, a reflection on outcomes of learning activities and reflections on practice.
  • The CPO official guide to creating your portfolio can be accessed here.

4. Knowing professional standards

3) How to produce your portfolio

  • None of the CPO portfolio forms are actually mandatory, but it is mandatory to set learning goals and reflect on the outcome of your learning - it is the reflection component that is important, not how the document is formatted.
  • The CPO has an extensive professional portfolio guide
  • In a nutshell, you are expected to demonstrate ongoing professional competence. What you will be expected to document annually should be structured in the following way:

→ Identify a thought provoking professional experience: Reflect on this experience. What worked or what didn’t work (this can be with a patient, substitute decision maker, colleague, support staff, on a course etc).

→ Goal Setting: Identify what you want/need to learn from this experience and write it out in the form of a learning plan and SMART goal. You are likely familiar with SMART goals by now, but in case you need a refresher, SMART stands for the following:

→ Learning Activities: How do you plan to meet your goals and learn? What resources do you have? How will you know you have learned?

→ Evaluate and Reflect on Outcome of Learning: What is the impact of your learning? Did you meet your goal? If not, why not? How has it changed your practice? Is there any further learning required?

Finally, it may help to get a portfolio started by thinking of a table of contents. I’ve included a sample one below for your reference. For what it is worth, I met the criteria and completed the QM process! Wishing you all the best if you have just been selected, or get selected in the future!
The full article can be found here.

Holly Mitchell BA, MSc(PT)

Holly is a physiotherapist and disruptive healthcare technology advocate with 10 years of clinical experience in both Canada and Australia. She graduated from McMaster University with a Master of Science in Physiotherapy and is on the Embodia Quality Assurance team for continuing education courses. Her area of interest is the connection between planetary and human health and the innovative potential health technology has in mitigating the environmental impacts of the healthcare industry. Holly currently consults with big employers on business opportunities for virtual injury prevention services and industrial sports medicine programs. Her free time is spent figuring out what exactly goes into the recycling bin, chasing her toddler son, figuring out adult ballet, kayaking, and camping in the great Canadian wilds. 

Twitter: @hmitchellTO 

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