Although we have not entered a licensure renewal cycle for PTs and PTAs here in Florida, I have begun to actively plan where and how I will acquire 24 continuing education hours necessary for licensure renewal in 2017.
A national APTA conference is always at the top of my list. There is the potential to earn several CEHs at these conferences and there’s always a wide variety of conference topics. My personal favorite among the national conferences is the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting. Information for the Feb. 15-18, 2017, meeting in San Antonio, Texas, is posted online. If you are an academic, the education section will most likely have a number of education-related presentations that interest you. Plenty of topics in orthopedics and neurology also will be on the menu. The annual conference is rich in poster presentations, allowing participants to speak with researchers including students in doctor of physical therapy programs.
I will also attend a state conference. Although smaller in magnitude than national conferences, these conferences provide opportunities to learn about issues faced by PTs in my state and how I can get involved in my organization’s state chapter. It also provides avenues to network with therapists in my local community, aside from updating my clinical skills.
Of course, there is the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress, hosted every two years in one of the confederation’s member countries. This conference is our profession’s version of the Olympic Games. You meet therapists from all over the world and make lasting connections with them. My experience at one of these events made me realize that we may be separated by thousands of miles but we all aspire to the same goal— to provide quality care for our patients in whatever language we deliver it.
Online options for fulfilling my CE requirements also will come in handy, especially if I am a few CEHs short. In Florida, however, there is an allowable limit of 12 online CEHs toward relicensure. TodayinPT offers a myriad of topics for very minimal cost.
We also need to complete mandatory CEHs. In Florida, a two-hour course in medical errors is required. I have heard similar lectures on medical errors over the last several years since the requirement was instituted. My question is why aren’t we allowed to select from a menu of several mandatory topics, so we aren’t required to repeatedly listen to the same information? I think it’s safe to assume that if we put into practice the safety guidelines that we learn from the medical errors courses, we will not forget them over the next two years.
In my quest for other possible mandatory topics I learned that other states require completion of an ethics or a jurisprudence course for each licensure renewal cycle. Perhaps PTs and PTAs from these states feel the same way I do and are looking for variety in their state relicensure requirements. My curiosity led me to connect with therapists in other states, like Georgia, to find out their perceptions regarding this issue.
The therapists with whom I spoke regarding the ethics requirement for relicensure felt re-centered after completing the course. They also said they were reminded of their core and value as therapists, including the basic tenets of PT practice.
My research led me to think of a possible redesign of our current mandatory requirements: Provision of topic choices for the required two CEHs — ethics, jurisprudence or medical errors. Perhaps the topics could be rotated for each biennium; for instance, ethics in 2017, medical errors in 2019 and jurisprudence in 2021. I think that this design will help us become better practitioners.
What mandatory courses for relicensure would you suggest if you were given the chance to make a recommendation to the PT practice board in your state? What is the value of such a recommendation to the practice of PT?