Continuing Professional Development
The RTAC Code of Practice requires ART clinics to demonstrate the Competency of Personnel in order to attain accreditation, and one aspect of this is ensuring ongoing professional development for staff.
In New Zealand, the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Bill (2003) stipulates that all health practitioners must demonstrate their competence in order to be issued an Annual Practicing Certificate. In order to fulfil this requirement, IVF Scientists are required to participate in a recognised CPD program as a requirement for registration by the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (NZIMLS).
In contrast in Australia, there are no legislative requirements as yet from the Australian Government, nor requirements set by the industry, for IVF Scientists to use a recognised CPD scheme.
However it is acknowledged that the use of an appropriate system, consistent among clinics, will facilitate employers and accreditation bodies such as RTAC to monitor competency of IVF Scientists; this is important in maintaining standards and enhancing our professional status within our industry. CPD schemes provide a method by which professional activities are recorded and assesed, including continuing education, formal courses and a wide range of professional activities which contribute to your professional growth (such as attendance at SIRT meetings).
To this end, the FSA offers free access for SIRT members to the APACE (Australasian Professional Acknowledgement of Continuing Education) CPD scheme offered by AIMS (Australian Institute of Medical Scientists).
APACE has been approved by the New Zealand Medical Laboratory Science Board, thus giving New Zealand SIRT members a choice of schemes.