Frequently Asked Questions about Quality Assurance


These questions and the answers to them are intended as general guidance to the most common questions about Quality Assurance.  The responses are not legal or practice advice and are not intended as such.  For more detailed information on the subject, readers should review the relevant statutes, regulations and standards of practice and consult with legal counsel.
 

Index of Questions


Self-Assessment
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Am I required to complete the Self-Assessment and create a Learning Plan?
What does this part of QA include?

Can I work with other NDs to complete the process?

I am currently on leave from my employment.  What are my responsibilities for Self-Assessment?
I have a Non-Clinical Term, Condition and Limitation on my Certificate of Registration.  Do I need to complete a Self-Assessment?

I work in more than one practice location.  Do I need to complete the tools for each location?
What if I want to add to my Self-Assessment or make changes to my Learning Plan later on in the year?
By what date must I complete my Self-Assessment and Learning Plan?
What happens if I don’t complete my Self-Assessment?
If my Self-Assessment and Learning Plan will be reviewed during a Peer and Practice Assessment, will the information remain confidential?

Continuing Education
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Do I have to participate in Continuing Education and Professional Development activities?
How many credits do I need?
What’s the difference between Category A and Category B credits?
Can I use Category A credits to meet my Category B requirements?
Can I use Category B credits to meet my Category A requirements?
When are my credits due?
Can I carry over credits I earned while registered with the BDDT-N prior to April 1, 2014?
What should I do if I’ve forgot my reporting cycle?
My cycle end date is September 30, 2015. Do I need to submit the full 70 credits?
How do I keep track of my CE courses and activities?
How do I report my continuing education to the College?
Does the College keep track of the CE courses I’ve completed?
I have received an extension to complete my credits. Will my CE reporting cycle change?
Do I get CE credits for taking a CPR course?
Do Inactive members still need to participate in CE?
If I exceed the required 70 hours of continuing education, can I carry my excess credits forward to the next three-year cycle?
I am a new member. Do I have to participate in continuing education activities?
How do I know if a Category A course has been approved by the College?
Can I submit a course I have already completed for approval?
I am on parental leave, do I need to still need to complete CE credits?
What will happen if I don’t complete the required number of credits in my three-year cycle?

Peer and Practice Assessment
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Am I required to undergo a Peer & Practice Assessment?
I do not see patients – do I need to participate in the Peer and Practice Assessment Program?
I am inactive – do I need an assessment?

I am a new member and have just started working.  How will this affect my participation in Peer and Practice Assessment?

What happens if I feel there is a conflict of interest with the appointed assessor?
I am on leave from my employment.  What are my responsibilities for Peer and Practice Assessment?

I work in more than one practice location.  Do I need to undergo more than one assessment?
What will happen if I refuse to participate in a Peer and Practice Assessment?
How long do I have to complete my Peer and Practice Assessment?

How are assessors selected and what kind of training do they receive?

Do I need patient consent to allow the assessor to look at my patient files?

Professional Portfolio
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Who is required to maintain a Professional Portfolio?
How often do I have to update my Professional Portfolio?

How do I establish a Professional Portfolio?

Why do I have to keep a Professional Portfolio?

Will the contents of my Professional Portfolio remain confidential?

Can I use my Professional Portfolio for purposes apart from the College?
How current do items in the Professional Portfolio have to be?

Self-Assessment


Am I required to complete the Self-Assessment and create a Learning Plan?

Yes. All members holding a General Certificate of Registration with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario must complete an annual Self-Assessment and create an annual Learning Plan.  That includes new registrants.
 
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What does this part of QA include?
You need to complete the Core Competency Practice Reflection, Standards of Practice Self-Assessment Questionnaire, Learning Plan and keep them in your Professional Portfolio.  This allows you to demonstrate that you have met your obligation to participate in self-assessment.

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Can I work with other NDs to complete the process?

Yes.  In fact, discussing your Self-Assessment with other NDs can expand your own thinking and give you ideas for future learning.  It may also be helpful to have another person review your Learning Plan to help you write specific, measurable learning goals. 



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I am currently on leave from my employment.  What are my responsibilities for Self-Assessment?

If you hold a General Certificate of Registration with the College you still need to complete your Self-Assessment and Learning Plan.  When you are on leave, your learning goals are likely to be different.  But you still need to ensure that you keep up to date in your knowledge, skill and judgment.

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I have a Non-Clinical Term, Condition and Limitation on my Certificate of Registration.  Do I need to complete a Self-Assessment?


Yes.  All members except for those holding an Inactive Certificate of Registration with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario must complete a Self-Assessment and learning plan each year.  See the section on Tips for Naturopathic Doctors in Non-Clinical Roles for help in completing your Self-Assessment.

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I work in more than one practice location.  Do I need to complete the tools for each location?

No.  The tool should be used to reflect how you are performing across all areas of practice.  You may wish to identify areas for growth in your different roles.  Your learning plan should include all of your goals for the upcoming year regardless of the practice location.

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What if I want to add to my Self-Assessment or make changes to my Learning Plan later on in the year?


You can do so, however these forms are your formal record of participation in the QA program and the actual date of completion is part of this record.  If you change the content of the forms, initial and date each change.

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By what date must I complete my Self-Assessment and Learning Plan?

Prior to renewing your annual registration with the College.  Members will be required to sign a declaration at renewal stating that they have completed their Self-Assessment and are in compliance with all components of the Quality Assurance program.

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What happens if I don’t complete my Self-Assessment?
This is a mandatory part of Quality Assurance, in order to maintain the knowledge, skill and judgment required to practise the profession.   If you do not complete the Self-Assessment, the QA Committee may require a Peer and Practice Assessment, or refer the matter to the Complaints Committee.

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If my Self-Assessment and Learning Plan will be reviewed during a Peer and Practice Assessment, will the information remain confidential?

Subject to certain limited exceptions outlined in the RHPA, information obtained through the QA program is kept confidential and is not disclosed to any other Committee of the College.

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Continuing Education


Do I have to participate in Continuing Education and Professional Development activities?

Yes. All Members who hold a General Certificate of Registration with the College are required to participate in Continuing Education and Professional Development activities and report these to the College on a three-year cycle. Participation in a Quality Assurance program is a mandatory requirement for all regulated health professionals and is set out in the RHPA.

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How many credits do I need?
You will need to complete 70 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) over a three-year period. Of the 70 required credits, 30 must be from Category A – Core activities, and 40 must be from Category B – Self-Directed activities.

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What’s the difference between Category A and Category B credits?
Category A credits are related to the core clinical competencies of the profession and are pre-approved by the College. These include structured activities such as attending courses, seminars or lectures. Category B credits are self-directed and relate to you as a health professional and a member of your community. These may encompass a wide range of professional activities and community functions that contribute to your professional development.

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Can I use Category A credits to meet my Category B requirements?
Yes. Any CECs beyond the required 30 can apply towards Category B.  In fact, you can take all 70 CECs in Category A if you wish. However, the College encourages members to participate in a wide range of Continuing Education activities, which includes a combination of core credits and self-directed activities.  This will ultimately benefit your patients and members of the public. The CE requirements allow you to self-direct your learning in a way that you feel is most beneficial for you as a health professional.

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Can I use Category B credits to meet my Category A requirements?
No, you may not use additional CE activities over and above the 40 credits required for Category B to fulfill your Category A requirements. You must always complete at least 30 credits from Category A.

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When are my credits due?
Each member will be assigned to a reporting cycle based on their initial date of registration. Your credits are due at the end of your three-year reporting cycle. Reporting cycles go from October 1 to September 30. For example, if your cycle starts on October 1, 2014, your cycle end date is September 30, 2017 – this is the deadline for you to submit your credits to the College.

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Can I carry over credits I earned while registered with the BDDT-N prior to April 1, 2014?
No. Any credits you earned prior to April 1, 2014 cannot be used to fulfill your Continuing Education requirements with the College of Naturopaths.  That’s because the College must pre-approve Category A credits. Moreover, any credits you report for a particular CE cycle must be earned in that cycle.

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What should I do if I’ve forgot my reporting cycle?
Check your CE reporting cycle and due date by logging in to your member profile on our website at www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca. You can also contact the College if you have questions about your CE cycle.

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My cycle end date is September 30, 2015. Do I need to submit the full 70 credits?
No. The Continuing Education component of the QA program will be phased in over a three-year period, to allow you time to complete the activities that meet the new CE guidelines. For your first reporting cycle, you will have modified CE requirements based on your cycle end date. For example, if your first cycle ends on September 30, 2015, you will only have to submit approximately one-third of the required number of credits for your three-year cycle.

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How do I keep track of my CE courses and activities?
Use the College’s Continuing Education and Professional Development Log. This provides a template to record the relevant information about each CE activity you complete, such as the course provider, activity name and date, and the number of credits you received. Please retain hard copies of your certificates of completion/proof of participation for every CE activity and keep them, along with your CE Log, in your Professional Portfolio for a minimum of six years.

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How do I report my continuing education to the College?
At the end of your three-year reporting cycle, you will submit your CE & PD log to the College. If you have been selected to participate in a detailed review, you will submit the proof of completion for all your CE activities along with your log. The QA Committee will review your submission for completeness and notify you if you are in compliance with the CE requirement of the QA program.  

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Does the College keep track of the CE courses I’ve completed?
No. It is your responsibility to keep accurate records of all the CE activities in which you participate. The College will not accept notification from course providers that you have completed a course. Please make sure you obtain/request a copy of your certificate of completion or appropriate documentation from the course provider upon successfully completing an activity.

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I have received an extension to complete my credits. Will my CE reporting cycle change?
No. If you receive an extension to complete or submit your credits this will not affect your future CE reporting cycle dates. You will remain in the same reporting group regardless of the length or your extension. For example, if your cycle end date is September 30, 2016 and you receive an extension until March 30, 2017, your next reporting cycle end date will still be September 30, 2019.

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Do I get CE credits for taking a CPR course?
Yes. You can claim one credit for every hour of participation in a CPR course, up to a maximum of eight credits per CE cycle.

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Do Inactive members still need to participate in CE?
No. However, if you change your status to Active, the QA Committee will determine your CE requirements based on where you are in your CE reporting cycle.     

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If I exceed the required 70 hours of continuing education, can I carry my excess credits forward to the next three-year cycle?

No. Your credits must be claimed in the reporting period in which they are earned. However, if you complete additional CE activities, report them. The College encourages all members to participate in additional learning activities to better serve the public interest.

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I am a new member. Do I have to participate in continuing education activities?
Yes. All members of the College are required to participate in Continuing Education and Professional Development. As a new registrant, you will be assigned to one of three reporting groups based on your initial registration date, and be notified of your cycle end date when you register. You will have plenty of time to complete the required number of CE credits.

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How do I know if a Category A course has been approved by the College?
The College will post a list of all the approved activities for Category A on its website www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca. Please check back as new courses will be posted on a regular basis.

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Can I submit a course I have already completed for approval?

Yes. If you have completed a course or activity that meets the criteria for Category A, you can submit it to the College for approval. You must submit your Credit Approval application well in advance of your cycle end date if you plan on using the credits to fulfill your Category A requirements.  

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I am on parental leave, do I need to still need to complete CE credits?
Yes, if you hold a General Certificate of Registration with the College you still need to participate in continuing education activities. If you are on a parental leave, you can request an extension to complete and submit your credits.  If you have changed your status to Inactive you do not need to participate in CE activities.

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What will happen if I don’t complete the required number of credits in my three-year cycle?
All members must participate in Continuing Education and Professional Development activities as part of the QA program requirements. If you do not complete and report on the required number of CE credits, this may be considered non-compliance with the QA program. The QA Committee may require some follow-up or a Peer and Practice Assessment, or may refer the matter to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee.

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Peer and Practice Assessment


Am I required to undergo a Peer & Practice Assessment?

Yes. All members holding a General Certificate of Registration with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario must participate in the program.  

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I do not see patients – do I need to participate in the Peer and Practice Assessment Program?

Yes, as long as you hold a General Certificate of Registration with the College.  If you have a Non-Clinical Term, Condition and Limitation on your license you will undergo a modified assessment.  This will include a review of your Professional Portfolio and the pre-selected Standards of Practice, policies, regulations and/or guidelines.

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I am inactive – do I need an assessment?
No.  Inactive members are not required to participate in any of the components of the Quality Assurance program.

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I am a new member and have just started working.  How will this affect my participation in Peer and Practice Assessment?
New members of the College will be exempt from the Peer and Practice Assessment program for three years.  

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What happens if I feel there is a conflict of interest with the appointed assessor?

If a legitimate conflict of interest exists, you may request another assessor.  All requests must be submitted in writing and be received by the College within 15 days of you being notified of the assessor’s name.  The Quality Assurance Committee will review the request, and assign a new assessor if it determines that a conflict of interest does exist,  

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I am on leave from my employment.  What are my responsibilities for Peer and Practice Assessment?
If you are selected, you may seek an extension if you are on parental leave, are seriously ill, are on a leave-of-absence, or have other extenuating circumstances.  An application for an extension must be submitted in writing and received by the College within 30 days of you being notified of your selection for a Peer and Practice Assessment.  The Quality Assurance Committee will review all requests.  
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I work in more than one practice location.  Do I need to undergo more than one assessment?

No.  The Peer and Practice Assessment will take place at your primary practice location.

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What will happen if I refuse to participate in a Peer and Practice Assessment?

Participating in a Peer & Practice Assessment is a mandatory part of the Quality Assurance Program.  Refusing to participate may be considered non-compliance with QA.  The Quality Assurance Committee may refer the matter to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).

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How long do I have to complete my Peer and Practice Assessment?

You will have six months from the date of selection by the Quality Assurance Committee to complete your assessment.

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How are assessors selected and what kind of training do they receive?

Assessors are selected based on a review of their submission to the College, which includes an application form, resumé and references. Following the initial application potential assessors are interviewed.  Prior to being appointed by the QA Committee, potential assessors must undergo a Peer and Practice Assessment themselves, participate as an observer in Peer and Practice Assessments and be evaluated by another peer assessor.  Peer assessors are trained by the College and must participate in an annual training workshop to update their skills and techniques, and to review and improve on outcomes. All assessors must be members in good standing with the College and must have actively practised Naturopathic Medicine for at least three years.

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Do I need patient consent to allow the assessor to look at my patient files?
No. The RHPA specifically states that regulatory health colleges may review patient files when conducting assessments of members. Privacy legislation supports this right to access patient information in this context.

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Professional Portfolio


Who is required to maintain a Professional Portfolio?

If you are a Naturopathic Doctor holding a General Certificate of Registration with CONO, you are required to participate in Quality Assurance activities and maintain a Professional Portfolio.  If you hold an Inactive Certificate of Registration you are not required to maintain a Professional Portfolio, but you may want to keep one in case you return to active practice.

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How often do I have to update my Professional Portfolio?

Periodically, at your discretion.  Some natural occasions for updating a portfolio may include completing a professional development course, or preparing for an assessment.  

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How do I establish a Professional Portfolio?
It is likely that you already have most of the information to maintain in a Professional Portfolio.  It is just a matter of organizing the information in a manner that makes it readily available.

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Why do I have to keep a Professional Portfolio?

As part of the Quality Assurance Regulation, the College is required to develop a mechanism to monitor members’ participation in, and compliance with the QA program. As such, every member of the College is required to maintain a Professional Portfolio, which will be made available to the QA Committee or a peer assessor upon request.  

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Will the contents of my Professional Portfolio remain confidential?

The contents can be shared within the QA Committee, but will not be shared with any other College Committee.

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Can I use my Professional Portfolio for purposes apart from the College?

Yes – and the College encourages you to do so.  The portfolio is your own.  It is expected that you will use it for both personal and professional purposes.  For example, the Professional Portfolio may be helpful to showcase your skills to potential employers, business partners, or patients.  

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How current do items in the Professional Portfolio have to be?
You must keep mandatory items for six years.  Optional items will likely reflect your practice and development and may date back as far as you like.  You may choose to include certain items you consider significant (certificates, references, published papers, etc.) regardless of their age.


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