Education, Education

Far from a bland accrual of points, the GOC's CET cycle offers an opportunity to learn and glean insights from fellow practitioners, says Dr Ian Beasley

head full of ideas

They say that CET cycles pass more quickly as you get older, and that is certainly my experience as we draw ever closer to the conclusion of the first enhanced version of this mandatory requirement.

I have to admit to being somewhat daunted by the launch of the new system in 2013, having graduated in the carefree era of zero CET requirements, through to the heady days of being able to earn all 36 points during one caffeine-fuelled all-night swat session if one chose.

So, on to the birth of a new system with the expectation to pace my CET throughout the three years and also to spread my activity across a range of somewhat alien core competencies. Perhaps more alarming for me was the prospect of actually engaging with real human beings to meet the peer engagement aspect of the system, exposing both my social and clinical ineptitudes in one fell swoop.

Having attended several peer discussion sessions over the past three years, I have to admit that, despite my initial reservations, my experience of peer discussion on each occasion has been wholly positive. Not only do these sessions provide reassurance that many of my clinical uncertainties are mirrored amongst my peers, but I always manage to glean some useful insight from colleagues in the room.

Of course, as we approach the crunch part of the cycle, there will, no doubt, be more than a handful of practitioners desperately trying to accrue their last few points, or perhaps more likely ticking off the odd missing competency. To cater for our ‘last minute’ friends, OT is delivering a CET Survival Pack, which reassuringly covers all competencies for optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians.

The use of the term ‘Survival Pack’ may sound melodramatic, but the consequence of failing to maintain registration, for me at least, would inevitably result in repossession of house, breakdown of marriage and perhaps more distressingly, the need to sell a multitude of my Apple devices to keep the more vulnerable members of the Beasley household fed and watered. It is important to emphasise that with no period of grace permitted by the GOC, practitioners need to ensure that they have accepted all points by the deadline of 31 December 2015 to avoid removal from the register.

As we move into a fresh era with OT delivered as a monthly journal and the start of a new cycle beckoning, the CET on offer going forwards, both in print and online, promises to be engaging and responsive to the evolving needs of practitioners of all disciplines. With content delivered by key contributors in each issue designed for optometrists, dispensing opticians, contact lens opticians and those with therapeutics speciality, earning CET will be more than just a bland accrual of points.

With the overarching November theme of women in optometry, it is entirely fitting that all four CET articles are authored by prominent female practitioners and academics in this issue.