animation of person reading Banner overlay

What is on the horizon for CET?

Marcus Dye writes that the profession should endeavour to make lifelong learning an integral part of its professional development

23 Sep 2019 by General Optical Council

Continuing Education and Training (CET) enables eye care practitioners to maintain and develop their skills and knowledge throughout their career in order to practise safely and maintain their fitness to practise.

Why is the GOC reviewing the scheme? The optical professions are changing. An ageing population is changing patient needs, and multi-disciplinary working and the use of technology are becoming more prevalent. It is vital that optometrists and dispensing opticians pursue ongoing training and professional development that enables them to meet the demands of the future.

“Last year we conducted a Fit for the Future CET consultation to explore registrant views on the current scheme and our proposed changes”


Last year we conducted a Fit for the Future CET consultation to explore registrant views on the current scheme and our proposed changes. Following feedback from stakeholders, we decided not to make any significant changes to the scheme until 2022 to allow the sector sufficient time to prepare and adapt for change.

A balancing of approaches

The consultation responses showed that that majority of respondents feel positively about the current scheme, with 76% of respondents agreeing that the current scheme helps improve registrants’ practice.

However, while the findings revealed consensus in some areas, they also revealed divergence in others. For example, many respondents agreed with our proposal to move away from competencies and instead link CET requirements to more high-level learning outcomes, based on the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians. This would allow registrants to take more control, by pursuing self-directed learning activities in areas more relevant to their everyday practice. Yet, 86% of respondents also said that there are core areas of practice that optometrists and dispensing opticians should keep their skills and knowledge up to date in, which corresponds with our current model. Our revised scheme will therefore need to balance both approaches.

“Peer review has been enthusiastically adopted with 72% of registrants completing more than the minimum requirement of one peer review session”


Embedding reflective practice

In addition to exploring practitioners’ views about the CET scheme, we have also been analysing practitioner behaviour by reviewing data from the 2016–18 CET cycle. We found that peer review has been enthusiastically adopted with 72% of registrants completing more than the minimum requirement of one peer review session. Peer review is not mandatory for dispensing opticians, yet 83% completed a peer review and more than half (57%) completed more than one. As part of the review, we will be considering further ways of promoting interactive learning.

Another area of success is reflective practice. The data reveals that eye care practitioners are exceeding the minimum reflective practice requirements. We found that 80% of registrants had created additional learning goals other than the set minimum of one, and 60% of registrants used reflection statements to reflect on activities other than peer review. As we develop an updated scheme, we will be exploring further ways of embedding reflective practice.

Lifelong learning is essential to ensuring that optometrists and dispensing opticians continue to practise effectively throughout the duration of their professional career.

We hope that our updated CET scheme will encourage all eye care practitioners to make lifelong learning an integral part of their professional development. By doing so practitioners will improve patient safety and secure the continued success of the professions.

Read the GOC’s statement about reflective learning in healthcare on its website.

Image credit: Getty/Akindo

Advertisement

Your comments

You must be logged in to join the discussion. Log in

Comments (0)

Report a comment
Close modal