The decision to end the use of BSHAA points as a means of measuring CPD activity was announced at the Society’s annual meeting last November and appeared to cause considerable confusion among the membership because there was no clear statement of what alternative systems would be used, particuarly when it came to awarding fellowship.
After hearing the less than positive feedback on the decision, Chief Executive David Welbourn promised to ‘produce a clear picture that would bring the long-running saga of Fellowship and CPD Points to a close” and he did this in a e-bulletin to all members.
David explained in his bulletin that Continuing Professional Development was at the heart of the profession and HADs who renewed their registration, had to declare that they had invested time and energy in maintaining professional competence through reflection on their practice and their commitment to ongoing learning. And he warned that for some, this declaration would be tested through audit of their CPD log – the evidence record demonstrating how they have met that commitment. “CPD needs to be measured by relevance, quality and quantity and the narrative of your reflection is used to measure this,” he said.
He explained that since the HAC gave way to the HCPC, “CPD Points” were no longer the measure, reflecting the fact that CPD was not a “one size fits all”. BSHAA chose to follow this lead by also phasing out Points too.
However he went on: “It is very clear that many members are more confident about their CPD when they can count the CPD Points and take comfort in the familiarity of the measure. Organisers of both training and development courses also value the recognition implied by being able to publicise CPD points. In this case, the Points act as a proxy for accreditation of their events. They too want the familiar comfort of being able to advertise and award CPD Points.
“BSHAA has therefore decided to resume awarding CPD Points so that both members and event providers can continue to use these as they wish. We will retrospectively be publishing the Points from our own recent events, and will ensure that new events are published with their awarded Points. To maintain continuity, we will continue to award the Points based on the length of the development or training. Over time, as we renew our focus on course accreditation, we intend to strengthen the Points system by providing supplementary information indicating the quality of the learning opportunity.”
Moving on to Fellowship he explained that the issue was forced by the discovery that a number of fellows were not fulfilling the minimum CPD requirements required to maintain fellowship. However the Society did not respond well to the consequences of this – changing the approach to Points simply deepened the confusion about Fellowship even though BSHAA placed great importance on raising the status of the profession as a whole, and as such continued to hold Fellowship in high regard.
“For our long standing Fellows who entered the profession without the academic credentials of a degree, the letters FSHAA designated someone as qualified beyond the basic entry level into the profession. It meant something distinctive, and we need to protect that distinction.” said the Chief Executive. For newcomers, who already had the credentials of their degree, the Society still wanted audiologists to be drawn to the status of Fellowship as a demonstration of their commitment to excellence in practice.
The reinstatement of Points means existing Fellows can renew their Fellowship by collecting them in the traditional way, and as before, half must support the work of BSHAA, and therefore contribute to their fellow professionals. The route for new applications to Fellowship will be through submission of a balanced portfolio demonstrating their commitment to excellence.
Both routes, through collection of CPD Points or by maintaining a balanced CPD portfolio are directly equivalent, but each Fellow or aspirant Fellow will be able to use the measure with which they feel most comfortable. Over time, these tracks will no doubt converge more closely, but BSHAA commits to maintaining both measures for at least the next two years.