CEC SCHEME Q&A.
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Firstly, we have attempted to design a user-friendly system; one that has good flexibility that will be accepted and practiced equally by all, whether they be working in small isolated laboratories or larger metropolitan-based cytology units. We reasoned that as continuing education for health professionals has now become an expectation of government, the professions and even the public, this expectation would in itself be a major encouragement to enrol. While some continuing education schemes charge significant enrolment fees, the Society has decided that our scheme would be free to its members. (Non-members can expect to pay an annual enrolment fee in excess of the ASC membership fee). So here is another attraction to participate. Furthermore, we recognise the effort by way of an annual participation certificate.
Laboratory supervisors should document group activities which form part of an in-house education scheme in order to comply with this requirement and NATA accreditation. However it would not be their responsibility or would it be possible for them to document individual activities e.g. journal readings, or keep a diary of an individual’s total activities (as the CEC diary does). Cytologists are professionals and therefore have a responsibility to maintain the skills necessary for undertaking diagnostic cytology.
There are a number of benefits associated with participation in the scheme. These include formal recognition of activities that in the past were pursued on a personal basis; encouragement for individuals to maintain continuing education and keep abreast with colleagues; assist in the attainment of new knowledge and skills and in performance self-appraisal; increased job satisfaction and a worthy addition to your Curriculum Vitae. Participation is recognised by the issue of an annual certificate of participation. Members also can include the post nominal CECP following their names. All these benefits enhance professional status and assist you when seeking employment.
Enhanced quality of service by ensuring an up-to-date competent workforce who possess a broadened spectrum of skills and knowledge; satisfy requirements of NPAAC, NATA and other regulatory bodies; facilitate retention of staff by recognising the professionalism of individuals working in cytology and provide an aid in the recruitment process.
Major reviews of continuing education schemes in other disciplines have shown not only improved knowledge and performance of health professionals but also improved patient health status. It is envisaged that a similar scheme in cytology will result in improved quality of service as reflected in performance measures, cancer registry data and other indicators.
People who are unemployed for a period, for whatever reason, are unlikely to find a barrier because they lack immediate past enrolment in such a scheme. In the event that participation in continuing education is required by management, this could easily be addressed by employers recognising that a commitment to re-enrol by the individual could be a condition of employment.
Any learning activity relating to cytology is acceptable. If in doubt you can ask your in-house co-ordinator for advice. It is a feature of our scheme that there is no provision for formal pre-assessment of activities by the ASC.
Course participation certificates, if available, would help you develop a more complete diary of your continuing education activity. These certificates may be required during audits of the scheme.
No, the diary is your record. However you may need to provide your diary to the ASC for audit purposes.
Firstly, we have agreed to allocate identical credit points for part-time or full-time employment (200 points pa). The flexibility of being able to choose any 4 out of 9 types of activity provides an opportunity to meet all varied work situations.
This will take two forms: Firstly, the Registrar will collate the yearly CEC Activity data from all enrollees and provide a profile of your activities as compared to the peer group. Secondly, all registrants will be issued with a certificate of participation. This certificate will show the total credits gained by the participant and the minimum number of credits required.
Enrolment can take place at any time of the year by completing the proper enrolment form and forwarding it to the Registrar. The form is published on a regular basis in Cytoletter or information can be entered on the CEC webpage ‘Registration’.