PHOTO: D'Arcy Philiips, MPLAN Awards chair and Brenda McKechnie, Registrar/Executive Director
The MPLAN ExemPLAR Award is given to organizations for achieving success in the Recognition of Prior Learning/RPL in a way that can stand as an example for similar organizations who may be new to RPL. (More about the ExemPLAR Award)
The College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba is a relatively small regulatory body - about 900 members (one third of which are students) and 2 full time staff. The College is responsible for:
- Setting standards of practice
- Registering only qualified physiotherapists who wishes to practice in Manitoba
- Ensuring that complaints of malpractice, misconduct or incompetence involving physiotherapists are thoroughly investigated and that appropriate action is taken
- Maintaining a Continuing Competence program that requires members to demonstrate that they have engaged in activities to maintain and enhance their ability to practice
Setting the Example
The College completed a six month project in 2013 to dramatically improve their website so that Internationally Educated Physiotherapists/IEP’s would more easily be able to learn about and follow the College’s RPL and Registration Processes. By their own admission, their website included a complicated list of things and forms to download and they wanted to achieve Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner recommendations. Conspicuous Improvements include:
- Plain Language is used throughout.
- Consistent labels have been given to key elements of the processes that were formerly referred to by different terms.
- What had been a difficult to follow description of what is a very complex process has been removed. It has been replaced by a chart written in plain language in which the individual steps are now laid out clearly and in sequence.
- In addition there are occasional “Tips” in the margins to help applicants avoid wasting their time or money. While not frequent, they are very valuable and help to lend a friendly and non-threatening tone to the website.
- Since the improvements were put online, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of questions phoned in by IEP’s. Questions can be answered more quickly as the callers clearly have already visited the website and understand the process.
- The College strongly believes the well organized and clearly written web content has sped up the registration process for IEPs.
- An IEP emailed to tell the College that they were very impressed with the website. The writer said that it was very clear and provided the best information on Physiotherapy registration for IEP’s they could find online in Canada. CPM says it has also have received positive comments from a few physiotherapy regulators who like our site.
The College’s desire to improve access to their RPL processes is clearly genuine. It is clear that the Registrar acted proactively and saw this as an opportunity to do the right thing and make the registration process as transparent as possible. The College used to have different registration forms for each category of registration, but now have only one registration form that everyone uses, regardless of origin of education.