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College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia

Continuing Competency Program

to Completing the
and Professional
Development Plan

Store at Tab #6 of your Registrant Information and Resources Binder

Note to Readers
Throughout this guide, reference is made to the following document. Please check that you have the most recent version, download
it from the college website or contact the college for updates.
Essential Competencies of Practice for Occupational Therapists in Canada, 2nd Ed. (ACOTRO, 2003).
Filed in your college binder under Tab 4
Available for download from the college web site at: http://www.cotbc/org/resources.php
Contents of this guide reect closely materials found in the Essential Competencies of Practice for Occupational Therapists in Canada,
2nd Ed. In some instances phrases and explanations are identical to create consistency between documents. Citations, however, are
not included in the text of the guide to facilitate reading and understanding. Use of text from the essential competencies document
is consistent with the agreement of its authors, the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations
(ACOTRO), who encourage collaboration between provincial regulatory organizations across Canada.
COTBC also wishes to acknowledge the generosity of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) who has given us
permission to adapt their continuing competency documents and use the practice examples developed in Ontario and validated
through program evaluation processes. We look forward to extending the same generosity to COTO and other occupational therapy
regulatory organizations in Canada as our programs develop.
Questions regarding the content of application of this guide should be addressed to:

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

College of Occupational Therapists of B.C.
Suite 219 645 Fort Street
Victoria, BC
V8W 1G2
Tel: (250) 386-6822 or Toll free in B.C. (866) 386-6822
College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC), 2006

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................. 2
What is Included in This Package? ............................................................................................................................................... 2
How do I Complete the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan? .......................................................................... 2
When must I Complete the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan? ..................................................................... 3
Process to Completing a Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan........................................................................... 3
Steps for Completing Your Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan ........................................................................ 4
Step 1: Prepare and Plan ............................................................................................................................................................. 4
Step 2: Review Your Last Professional Development Plan and Self-Assessment .......................................................................... 4

Step 4: Set Priorities..................................................................................................................................................................... 5

Step 5: Create Your Professional Development Plan .................................................................................................................... 6
Appendix I: Practice Examples ..................................................................................................................................................... 7

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

Step 3: Complete Your Self-Assessment ....................................................................................................................................... 4

The Health Professions Act requires that the College of
Occupational Therapists of B.C. (COTBC) protects the public
interest by superintending the practice of the profession. One
of the ways in which to do this is to establish a continuing
competency program to assist registrants to assume
professional accountability for maintaining and developing
their own competence.
This guide along with the Self-Assessment Tool, Professional
Development Plan and Continuing Competency Declaration
form is one part of the colleges continuing competency
program. The program will eventually be comprised of three
1. Competency Maintenance and Ongoing Development;
2. Competency Review and Evaluation; and

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

3. Competency Improvement.

Completing a self-assessment and professional development

plan are considered parts of the rst element of the colleges
continuing competency program. The activities are related
to your ability to reect on your practice using the essential
competencies and to develop goals for ongoing professional
development. The action rests with the individual registrant
taking responsibility for ongoing professional development,
although registrants are required to sign and return a
Continuing Competency Declaration form, and you must
keep your documents for 5 years. In the future, other program
elements will be developed so that the college can monitor
and enforce the continuing competence of its registrants as
outlined in the Health Professions Act.
The Continuing Competency Committee1, based the guide and
tools on the Essential Competencies of Practice for Occupational
Therapists in Canada, 2nd Ed. which were validated through
the work of the ACOTRO and adopted by COTBC in 2003
to describe the essential competencies and performance
indicators required of an occupational therapist to practise in


This package contains the following four documents:

The Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and

Professional Development Plan;

The Self-Assessment Tool;

The Professional Development Plan; and

Continuing Competency Declaration Form.

The guide provides you with detailed information to help you

complete a self-assessment and professional development
plan so you may sign your continuing competency declaration
with condence. The Self-Assessment Tool enables you to
reect on your competency as an occupational therapist and
how your practice meets the Essential Competencies of Practice
for Occupational Therapists in Canada, 2nd Ed. Upon completing
the tool, you will be better prepared to create your own
Professional Development Plan. The overall goal is to help
you to maintain and enhance your competency to practise
occupational therapy in B.C.
The Self-Assessment Tool is a series of checklists organized
under the seven broad units of essential competencies. Under
each unit are specic competencies (listed as Items 1, 2, 3,
and so forth) that focus on the general abilities required to
accomplish the main tasks, functions or roles in occupational
therapy practice. There are specic behavioural examples
provided under each item
(listed as a, b, c, and so

These documents

forth.) These relate to the

should be placed in

performance indicators of a

your College Registrant

specic competency.

and Resources binder

under Tab 6, Continuing

As you work through the

Competency Program.

checklists, you identify

those areas in which you
meet the competency consistently and those areas that
require improvement. At the end of each competency unit
there is space provided to ll in examples from your own
practice. Although this step is optional identifying examples
in your practice may help you to complete your Professional
Development Plan.

The Continuing Competency Committee is a sub-committee of the Quality Assurance Committee that reports directly to the COTBC Board of Directors.

The Professional Development Plan is completed following

your self-assessment. It provides you with a structure with
which to develop goals and action plans for those areas you
identied as needing or wanting to improve.

Process to Completing a Self-Assessment

and Professional Development Plan


College mails Continuing

Competency Package

September January: Registrants complete selfOnce every two years you need to complete the Self-

assessment and prepare Professional

Assessment Tool unless a major change in your practice has

Development Plan

occurred. Every year you need to complete a Professional

Development Plan.

Step 1:

The package is mailed to registrants in August each year. We

Step 2:

Prepare and Plan

Review Previous Professional

recommended you work through the Self-Assessment Tool and

Development Plans and Self-

develop your plan between September and January so you can


submit your Continuing Competency Declaration form by

(new registrants will skip this step)

the February 15 deadline.

Complete Self-Assessment (biannually)

complete the Self-Assessment Tool even if only one year has

elapsed. Examples of major changes include:

Returning to clinical practice following an absence of

more than six months for any reason, including having
assumed primarily non-clinical roles.

Working in a different system; for example, moving from

institutional to community practice, changing from a
publicly funded to a privately funded system.

Encountering changes in the practice environment

that impact on professional support systems; for
example, organizational restructuring that changes
access to peer consultation.

Step 5:

Set Priorities
Create Professional Development
Plan (annually)

February 15: Continuing Competency Declaration

form due at COTBC ofce.
June 30: Registrant Renewal Deadline declaration
form must be on college le to
renew registration.

Serving clients with different occupational

performance issues, or when different performance
components or different environments need to be

Step 4:

Moving to a role where different knowledge, skills or

judgment is needed; for example, new supervisory or
advisory responsibilities.

The college requires that you retain all your

documents for 5 years.

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

Step 3:
If a major change in your practice has occurred you should


Step 2:

Review your last Professional


Development Plan and Self-Assessment

Step 1:

Prepare and Plan

If you have not completed the a self-assessment, this

step does not apply. Move on to Step 3.

1.1 Plan on spending several hours to complete the process.

2.1 Start with your last Professional Development Plan(s),

review each goal and document the outcome(s) for each

Two or three shorter sessions may be better than

action plan.

one long one.

If possible, allow time to consult with colleagues.

They may help to identify practice examples and

provide feedback on your Professional Development

If you completed items from your action plan, record

date completed.


For each goal, record the review date, the outcome

and describe the impact on your practice.

1.2 If you have completed the process before, gather any

2.2 Review your previously completed self-assessment(s) to:

previously completed self-assessments and Professional

Development Plans. We also recommend the following

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

Recall your previous thoughts and practice


Your College Registrant Information and Resources

Decide whether previous areas identied as

needing or wanting to improve are still relevant.

binder including a copy of the Essential Competencies

of Practice for Occupational Therapists in Canada,

Step 3:

Complete the Self-Assessment Tool

2 Ed.

Any documentation of completed professional

development activities.

describe the services you offer in your present practice

Other relevant


documents such
as performance
and results of
client satisfaction

3.1. Complete the cover page of the Self-Assessment Tool to


A copy of the Essential

Competencies for
Occupational Therapists
in Canada, 2nd Ed.
(ACOTRO, 2003) should
be under Tab #4 in your

The Self-Assessment Tool helps you examine whether you meet

the essential competencies. For your convenience, we have
provided a cross-check to performance indicators listed in the
essential competencies document should you wish to review
these in more detail. These appear in the column Cross Check

registrant binder.

with E.C. Performance Indicators.

relevant to your

Copies can also be

3.2. Review the behaviours listed under each item and check

practice. Examples

downloaded from the

the appropriate column indicating whether you meet the

include consent,

college website at

competency consistently, need or want improvement



or nd the competency not applicable to your area of

Occupational therapists


on legislation

decision makers,
child protection,
and protection of

are responsible for

knowing and adhering
to any legislation
that applies to their

Check this column:


3.3 Practice examples will differ according to your area of

I meet consistently

You already perform at

examples of competency applications to different areas

the level required for your

of practice.

practice. Refer to the information in Appendix I to nd

practice setting and role.

Note: Consistently means

3.4 We have provided cues with several behaviours to

whenever the opportunity

assist you in responding to the statement. The cues

occurs, even if it does not

however are not intended to be exhaustive.

arise very often.

3.5 Space is provided at the end of each competency unit
I need or want to improve

You NEED or WANT to

for you to jot down practice examples. Note: It can

enhance your practice in

be helpful for self-reection to document concrete

this area. You may check

examples of how you are meeting competencies.

both I meet consistently

& I want to improve if

3.6 As you go along, if you identify a I need or want to

you decide you already

improve, jot down some thoughts on the worksheet

perform at the required

summary page, found on the last page of the tool.

level but wish to develop

additional knowledge or

Step 4:

Set Priorities

4.1 Create a list of areas for improvement.

Not applicable

This statement describes

an aspect of the

At the end of the Self-Assessment Tool is an optional

competency that you feel

Self-Assessment Worksheet. By summarising your areas

is not applicable to your

of improvement on one page, you may nd it easier to


prioritize and develop your annual professional development

plan. Alternatively, you could use blank paper or your own

Note: Use Not applicable judiciously. Competencies apply at


some level to all areas of practice such as clinician, consultant,

administrator, educator

Other documents to consider when listing areas of

or researcher. If you feel a

Discuss with other

competency is not applicable

occupational therapists

in a particular situation a

how they demonstrate

reasonable explanation

a competency and/or

should be recorded.

look in Appendix I for


Were there unmet goals?

some examples.

Previous self-assessments. Are there areas for

improvement that are still relevant but were not

As you decide which

included in your last Professional Development

answer to check, ask

yourself, In my current area of practice, what do I do that

Previous years Professional Development Plan.


Performance appraisals, chart audits and peer

relates to this statement? For example, if you were thinking

reviews. What professional development action

about Item 18: I maintain condentiality and security in the

plans were identied from these other processes?

transmission, storage and management of information, you

might recall discussions with your employer about facility
policies and procedures related to using e-mail for sending
client information or requests for the installation of desk locks
to maintain client information safety. These examples will help
you decide whether you already perform at your desired level,
or want to improve.

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan


4.2 Decide on a priority level for each area of improvement.

5.3 Write Specic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and

Time-limited (SMART) learning goals.

Here is one method of prioritizing:

Think within a one-year time frame and, if needed, break
High Priority Your current practice role requires

the goals into sub-goals. Goals should have an observable

immediate improvement or growth in this area and

outcome. Consider how you will demonstrate that you have

you need to plan strategies that will allow you to

met you goals and what changes you would see in your

reach your goal this year.

practice or in client outcomes.

Medium Priority Growth would be very helpful

Examples of goals that do not follow SMART principles:

in this role but it is less urgent. If the opportunity

arises, you will act; otherwise, you may address it in

I will practise more responsibly.

the future.

I will memorize the Health Professions Act.

Low priority While you wish to grow, or have

Examples of goals that do follow SMART principles:

some interest in this area, it is not critical for your

current role. You will pursue it only after higher

priorities are met.

By April I will review my employers policies and

procedures for obtaining consent from clients

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

and ensure all clients in my vocational program

If you have not identied any competencies which need to

understand their rights to determine what

be improved, you may still wish to identify areas of desired

information is shared with other agencies.

professional growth and develop a plan to meet these and/or

By April I will review the COTBC Bylaws and be

maintain competencies. Items where you checked both boxes

able to explain the role of the board in professional

indicate areas where you perform at the required level but


wish to develop additional knowledge or skills.

5.4 Identify an Action Plan for meeting your goal this year.
Step 5:

Create Your Professional

Development Plan

These are the concrete strategies you will take to achieve

the outcome. Attach specic timelines to each strategy. Be

5.1 Review your prioritized list of areas for improvement.

proactive in accessing resources to meet high priority goals. Do

not wait for an opportunity to come your way be innovative

Highlight those areas which you identied as highest

and seek creative ways to learn what you need to maintain

priorities and select a reasonable number to include in your

and enhance your competency.

Professional Development Plan. It is unrealistic to expect to

achieve everything in one year, so be thoughtful and select

Your nal Professional Development Plan provides specic

areas for improvement that will have the most impact on your

directions and timelines for strategies that will enhance your

current practice and clients care. Depending on the size and

competence over the next year. In subsequent years you should

complexity of your goals, you are advised to focus on one to

review areas for improvement that were not addressed. You

ve goals. You may choose to focus on fewer goals if you work

can decide to address them, change them, or track them for


future consideration.

5.2 Use one Professional Development Plan worksheet for

each goal.


This section provides examples from a variety of practice areas related to each of the seven essential competency units.
Adapt and personalize these examples to demonstrate your competency.

Competency Unit I: I Assume Professional Responsibility

I provide clients with lists of vendors or service providers to enable them to make an informed choice. When requested to carry
specic products for sale to clients, I decided to make arrangements for the product to be carried by a supply rm with whom I have
no nancial connection. I advise clients of the availability of all products that could meet their needs.

I include college contact information on written consent forms. I give each client a business card with my name and include that I
am a registered occupational therapist in B.C.

I verify annually that staff members are registered with their respective colleges.

I recognize the need for open communication and consultation with other health care professionals, i.e. conducting joint

When working in multiple areas within one institution, I am fully aware of the different scopes that my practice inherits and I make

I am aware of my personal limitations and use this self-knowledge to identify realistic timelines for client goal achievement;
appropriately managing the volume of my caseload; and turning down referrals that are outside my area of practice.

Competency Unit II: I Demonstrate Practice Knowledge

I review college publications for changes in practice requirements or regulations, highlighting relevant information for action and

I read articles from the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy that are relevant to my practice. I perform on-line searches to
acquire relevant references when faced with new issues.

I keep a le of key references that I have reviewed and used to support my approach to practice and update it annually to include
new references. The orientation binder for my practice setting explains the application of theoretical models to my practice. I read
and contribute to the binder as appropriate.

I complete a monthly environmental report that identies key factors or changes (e.g. political, social, service system, legislative)
that impact, or potentially impact, the organization.

I meet with several peers to review equipment prescriptions or other issues related to Augmentative Communication Services.

I make sure I know what my role is within the insurance system and how the information I provide is used by others.

I am aware of different funding resources for mobility and adaptive equipment as well as community resources that may enhance
my clients rehabilitation process.

These practice examples are used with permission from the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) from the Your Guide to Self-Assessment (2004), Appendix B.

As the COTBC guide is developed, practice examples will be gathered from B.C. to ensure the scenarios are relevant to occupational therapy practice in B.C.

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

sure that my personal knowledge base is wide enough to take on all responsibilities to which I am accountable.

Competency Unit III: I Use a Practice Process

I advise referring agents that I am unable to accept referrals for clients with spinal cord injuries. (I do not have adequate experience
or access to supervision to provide competent service to these clients).

I use the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure to involve clients in setting goals and priorities. I adapt the assessment
process to address referral concerns. I select assessment methods based on the individual clients needs and issues.

I follow the procedure outlined in the Occupational Performance Process Model for each client.

I discuss recommendations such as equipment and referrals with clients. Before sending reports to referring agencies, I review the
content of the report with the client and obtain consent to send it.

I check that I am up-to-date on client charting and workload documentation before accepting new referrals.

I developed policies and procedures for obtaining and documenting consent and release of information. I check that staff members
know and follow the policies and procedures.

I explain to students my role as their teacher and the limits of that role. For issues outside my scope, I advise students of other
resources within the university setting or the community.

I identify myself, my area of practice, and the reason for referral to all clients, making sure I address clients directly and not to family

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan


Competency Unit IV: I Think Critically

I use assessment tools that have been developed and tested for the client population I serve (e.g. clients who have sustained
a stroke). I document the assessments used and how results were integrated with client goals to guide intervention and

I reviewed the theoretical basis, reliability and validity of various functional capacity evaluation protocols. I include in my reports the
limitations of the method when interpreting assessment results and providing recommendations.

I researched potential outcome measures for use with clients participating in group therapy to address anger management. I chose
an appropriate measure and have used it with a number of clients to demonstrate effectiveness of group therapy.

I consider a clients activity tolerance and number of other therapy appointments when deciding on the frequency of occupational
therapy intervention.

I use a performance measures survey with all new clients in the agency to evaluate overall service effectiveness. Clients provide
information about how well the service helped them meet their goals and whether their personal strengths and choices were

I have outcome measures in place to determine if the outcome of my goals and programming were properly demonstrated by
means of my chosen assessments.

Competency Unit V: I Communicate Effectively

I discuss assessment results with each client to ensure that they understand the results and any recommendations.

I consult with a speech language pathologist when treating clients with aphasia. I use gestures and written diagrams to accompany
verbal information, depending on the best way for each client to receive information.

I follow an established procedure to regularly distribute (with client consent) written reports to outside agencies, physicians, and
others who are involved in care for a client. There is a designated team member to facilitate communication between the client,
team members and outside agencies and/or providers.

I call parents of the children I serve in the school to discuss any changes to the occupational therapy program, including planning
discharge. If I recommend referring the child to a community program, I discuss with parents what information I would like to
provide to that program and obtain permission to do so.

I respond to requests for information from the Ministry within the timeframe specied. I provide information to the board when
needed for their governance decisions.

I post my ofce hours and advise students as to when I am available and how to reach me if they have questions or need academic

I make sure to identify stakeholders from the start and ask the client and stakeholders to identify any concerns or questions within

I have case conferences with clients and their families to discuss treatment and progress throughout the intervention, and I
encourage contact at any time by providing my necessary contact information.

I make sure I get consent at all necessary points on an on-going basis.

I make sure that I provide clients with options for intervention strategies, and discuss with them the pros and cons of chosen
intervention, any safety concerns, and implications of service provision, i.e. decisions and documents.

I make sure I frequently re-visit client expectations during interactions and review progress notes on a recurrent basis being aware
of not using medical jargon that could confuse the client.

I identify resources to increase communication such as using large print, augmentative equipment, interpreters, documents in
different languages and any environmental aids such as minimizing distractions and optimal positioning for communication.

Competency Unit VI: I Engage in Professional Development

I complete college self-assessments with colleagues. I review my Professional Development Plan periodically and follow through
with my plans.

I heard of a new assessment for my client population. I obtained the assessment and reviewed the administration manual. I
practised administering the assessment with normal volunteers and sought feedback on my process and results until I could
administer the assessment according to the standard protocol.

I purchased a directory of community resources available in my area and called a number of agencies to clarify their roles, when it
might be appropriate to refer a client, and the process to follow. I have linked several clients with appropriate community resources.

I attend an Occupational Therapy Psychiatric Interest group on a monthly basis. We share resource information, discuss current
research and problem-solve clinical scenarios. I facilitated a task group with my service team to search for and implement an
agitation scale.

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

the clinical setting at the beginning of the session.

I schedule time within and outside my work hours to review professional journals or texts or to conduct Internet research in areas
relevant to my practice.

I maintain a list of courses or other formal learning activities. I complete learning logs to record key learning that directly impacts
my practice.

I facilitate staff networking by scheduling monthly meetings on topics identied by staff. I attended a conference on changes to the
Employment Standards Act and implemented changes to organizational policies.

Competency Unit VII: I Manage the Practice Environment

When assigning service to the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), I demonstrate then observe the rst few sessions. I schedule
regular meetings with the OTA to discuss progress. I review the OTAs progress notes and follow-up as needed.

I ensure that there is a schedule for maintaining, cleaning and calibrating equipment according to manufacturers
recommendations. I assign responsibility to follow the schedule and document the process. I review the documentation to ensure

COTBC Continuing Competency Program Guide to Completing the Self-Assessment and Professional Development Plan

the required activities have been completed.


I follow universal precautions and infection control procedures.

I supervise children who are using materials or equipment that could result in injury.

When consulting, I only teach others to perform activities that do not require the knowledge and skills of an occupational therapist.

I inform the appropriate person when I notice environmental hazards in clients homes, in schools or other community settings. I
use antiseptic lotion to wash my hands after each visit with a client in the community.

I helped establish the role responsibilities and accountabilities for support personnel at the agency. I hired a consultant to review
our organizations compliance with the Health and Safety Act and implemented the recommended changes.

I make sure I determine which clients to see rst by prioritizing needs such as skin breakdown and risk of falls.

I go on joint home visits if there is suspected risk of harm to myself.

I make sure to remain aware of sexual assault issues if there is suspicious behaviour and I avoid placing myself in a situation that
could lead to injury and harm.

I make sure that staff knows where I am at all working times.

I make sure that the policies and procedures of my institution are up-to-date and clearly outlined.

Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations. (2003). Esssential competencies of practice for
occupational therapists in Canada (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Author.
College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario. (2004). Your Guide to Self-Assessment (Appendix B). Toronto, ON: Author.