The Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) firmly believes that there is a place for advanced MRT practice in Canada.
Since 2010, the CAMRT has made Advanced Practice in the MRT professions a strategic priority. A symposium held in November of that year was convened to discuss the advanced MRT practice in the Canadian context. Delegates from all MRT organizations, and representatives from different healthcare professions, came together to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by MRTs as they pursue advanced practice. Topics of discussion included education, competencies, improving access to patient care and regulation. From this symposium, came a clear mandate for CAMRT:
- Define advanced MRT practice for the Canadian context
- Develop methodologies for advanced practice professionals to become certified
Based on this mandate, two complementary projects were launched: the Advanced Practice Framework and Advanced Practice Certification. Both these initiatives represent important steps towards the goal of advanced practice roles in all MRT profession across the whole country.
Advanced Practice Framework
The CAMRT Advanced Practice Framework establishes a definition for advanced MRT practice in Canada. Its aim is to establish a common understanding of the phrase “advanced practice” among MRTs in Canada. The framework does this through a discussion of high-level principles and concepts that can be applied across a broad profession. It is hoped that those interested in advanced MRT practice across the country will find within it a common language and a conceptual frame to advance discussions at the institutional, educational and/or governmental levels.
The definition of Advanced Practice is the core of the document. The rest of the framework document has been developed to provide context for advanced practice in Canada and to extend the concepts addressed in the definition. The sections preceding the definition briefly discuss the history of advanced practice and present the rationale for the development of advanced practice in healthcare. The sections that follow the definition isolate its distinct elements and elaborate on these important themes in the context of the Canadian healthcare environment.
A decision was made to avoid identification and listing of specific advanced activities within the framework. The continual evolution of MRT practice, as well as differences in practice across Canadian provincial jurisdictions, will always make it difficult to find examples that can be applied nationally and over time. Instead, the examples provided serve to illustrate and highlight the high-level principles of advanced practice as they have been applied in practice.
|– Executive Summary (PDF)|
|– Full Framework (PDF)|
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Advanced Practice Certification
In parallel with the Advanced Practice Framework, the CAMRT has been working to investigate and establish a process for the certification of these MRTs who are practicing at an advanced level. This work complements the Advanced Practice Framework by providing the mechanism by which the recommendations in the framework can be carried out.
Following the success of the Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapists (CSRT) initiative in Ontario, it was decided that advanced practice in radiation therapy would form the initial focus and case study for construction of a process. Competencies were identified with the help of the CSRTs and validated at a national level. Using the validated competency profile, a blueprinting process identified weighting and a three-phase structure for global evaluation of advanced practitioners based on portfolio review, submitted cases and a standardized oral interview.
The committee responsible for developing this process is currently working to assemble and fine tune the materials to be used in a pilot of the evaluation process, scheduled to take place in 2015.
Following this pilot, we expect to build a national process for the certification of advanced practice that can be used at first for radiation therapists, but which in time will be adapted to certification in other MRT disciplines when advanced practice roles emerge.