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PT and the Greater Good

‘Does it Do What It Says on the Tin?'

Published May 7, 2013 12:17 PM by Dean Metz

I learned this expression while working in England. It was a way of getting to the core of something, often a product, to determine the original intent and whether it was accomplished. I wonder that about continuing education requirements. Florida has had them (12 hours/year) since I've been practicing (a long time) while New York has only recently adopted them (same 12 hours/year).

Why have these requirements that we go and study for half of one day a year? What is the original intent behind them? From my public health perspective, I see it as ensuring patients are cared for by professionals, with the latest knowledge. From my professional perspective, I see it as a way to stimulate thought and encourage continued professional development. From my cynical perspective, I see it as another bureaucratic encumbrance where course developers have a captive clientele from which to make money.

What do you think? Have the states accomplished something worthwhile or simply created a burden for professionals? After all, wouldn't any professional naturally stay on top of his game with continuing growth? Wouldn't the free market weed out anyone who wasn't keeping up?

Is this the best way to credit us with compliance? My ADVANCE colleague, Lisa Mueller, writes often about her journal club activities. Shouldn't this count toward her continuing development? What about colleagues involved in research, shouldn't that count as well? Most times it doesn't.

Does your state offer alternatives to attending in person or online courses? Do you think it's a justifiable way of demonstrating continuing growth? It is in the UK. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists expects its members to spend three to six hours a month on development, including things like journal clubs and research. Those activities are documented and kept in a portfolio, which needs to be presented on demand.

What would you choose?

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2 comments

I love the fact that the UK requires 3-6 hours a month. I would be interested to know if proof is required that each month was accounted for, and not crammed into the last few months, as tends to occur in the U.S.

I know everyone here doesn't do that though. I try to get them out of the way as soon as possible, and usually am done with my 15 hours by October (our renewal cycle in Nevada is July to July.)

Nevada is pretty strict on what constitutes as continuing education, and if a course is not on the list, don't even bother taking it because it probably won't get there by the time you need it. We are, if I'm not mistaken, able to read Journals and answer questions about what we've read, but it doesn't count for a lot of units/hours.

I would welcome another system of obtaining hours. Most of us out there probably need more than just 12 or 15 hours in a year, that is 8760 hours long, to keep up with current research.

Michelle Merritt, Physical Therapist May 15, 2013 12:21 PM
Reno NV

Some states allow CEU credit for writing articles.  However when I asked about credit for writing the blogs I was asked to fill out paperwork and submit a fee to the state board for approval.

The business of CEU's is huge and their fees can fluctuate and we end up paying.  I would hope most professionals would stay current in their field without being forced to by state regulations.  

And I have known therapists to cram over 16 hours of CEU's just before the deadline.  I am not sure how much they can learn in such a short period of time but according to state law it is all legal.  

CEU's should also be relevant to your practice area unless your intention is to change fields.  But no one monitors this.

Jason Marketti May 13, 2013 9:24 AM

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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