Access to continuing professional development has been identified in the literature as significant factor in rural practice recruitment and retention. This was substantiated by Clinical Instructor, Robin Roots’ research in a study performed in 2011 looking at the practice of OTs and PTs in Northern BC (Roots RK, Brown H, Bainbridge L, Li LC. Rural rehabilitation practice: perspectives from occupational therapists and physiotherapists in BC. Rural and Remote Health. 2013. In press.) While all practitioners regardless of location face cost, travel and time challenges, participants from northern BC noted the additional challenge of travelling longer distances (on average a day on either side of event) and having to maintain competency in a wide range of areas as a specialist generalist. In order to better understand how we could support physiotherapists in northern and rural BC to become involved in clinical education, and new graduates to consider practicing in northern and rural regions, Robin initiated this Needs Assessment. From the beginning she recognized the importance of partnerships in launching this study and engaged the UBC Faculty of Medicine CPD Division to conduct the research and partner with the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia, one of the largest providers of CPD, and the College of PT of BC for their role in maintaining competence as part of the quality assurance program.
Little data exists about the attitudes and beliefs of BC PTs on lifelong learning. Work is needed to determine the issues related to the barriers and enablers for participating in CPD activities, with a specific comparison between urban and rural based PTs. This suggests that a comprehensive needs assessment survey approach is warranted in order to fully understand BC PTs’ current practices, attitudes, and beliefs towards CPD, including areas of practice interest, practice gaps (knowledge and/or skills), and identification of the barriers and enablers to participating in CPD. In particular, the identification of specific barriers and enablers to participating in CPD amongst urban and rural BC PTs along with CPD needs, areas of interests, gaps in skills, preferred means of learning, and who PTs look to for providing education will be assessed.
Take the survey and help us develop a strategy to build capacity through faculty development for quality clinical education in the province in order to support recruitment and retention of new graduates and clinical education instructors and ultimately enhance patient care.