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FAQ: Quality Assurance
What is the QA Program?
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 requires the College to establish and administer a QA Program that assists nurses in maintaining competence and continually evaluating their practice. The College’s QA Program consists of three components: Self-Assessment, Practice Assessment and Peer Assessment.
What is Self-Assessment?
All nurses registered in the General and Extended Classes are required to complete Self-Assessment every year. Each year, nurses registered in these classes must:
- reflect on their practice
- develop and maintain a Learning Plan
Keep a copy of your Learning Plan for two years as a record of your participation in the QA Program.
What is Practice Assessment?
Each year, the College randomly selects nurses from the General and Extended Classes to participate in Practice Assessment. If you are selected, you will be notified by letter in February. Nurses who are selected for Practice Assessment must submit their Learning Plan and complete objective multiple-choice tests online using myQA. In addition, a subset of NPs will be selected for a clinical assessment.
What is Peer Assessment?
Nurses selected for Practice Assessment will have their Learning Plan and assessment results reviewed by a Peer Assessor. A Peer Assessor is a College-assigned nurse with an in-depth understanding of College practice standards and guidelines and QA requirements. The Peer Assessor will write a report for the QA Committee. You will be sent a copy of the report.
How can I link my employer performance evaluation to the QA Program?
The College encourages nurses to share the requirements of the QA Program with their employers. They can link the regulatory requirements with their employer performance assessments. The Learning Plan allows you to develop your learning goals based on your practice reflection and learning needs. You can also incorporate the learning needs or activities in your employer performance evaluation into your Learning Plan.
Are there resources to help me with the QA Program requirements?
Yes, the College has developed several resources to help you meet the requirements of the QA Program. Visit the QA Resources page for more information.
Do I have to participate in the QA Program if I am newly registered with the College?
Yes, it is mandatory for nurses in the General and Extended Classes to participate in the QA Program by completing their annual Self-Assessment once they become registered. Nurses registered in these classes are eligible for selection for Practice Assessment after their first two years of registration with the College.
If I am registered with the College in the General or Extended Class but I am not practising nursing, do I have to participate in Self-Assessment?
Yes, it is mandatory for every nurse registered in the General and Extended Classes to participate in the QA Program and complete their annual Self-Assessment. Nurses in the Non-Practising Class are not required to participate in the QA Program. For more information about the Non-Practising Class, go to the Registration Classes section of this website.
I am the only nurse working in my practice setting. As part of practice reflection, I have to get input from a peer. Who is a peer in my practice setting?
The College defines a peer as a member of the interprofessional team who understands your role as a nurse. A peer does not have to be in the same role as you are, and can be working within or across practice settings. For example, a peer can be a physician you work with or the team manager. Getting feedback from your peers provides greater awareness of your strengths, areas for improvement and learning needs.
I’m registered in the General Class, but not currently working. How do I reflect on my practice and create a Learning Plan?
If you are registered in the General or Extended Classes but are not currently working, you can still reflect on your nursing practice experiences to determine your strengths, areas for improvement and learning needs. These experiences can include previous formal employment, or student placements if you are a new graduate.
You can also reflect on relevant new information and how it might influence your practice. For example, is there new evidence or legislation that may change how you would deliver care?
Part of practice reflection is getting feedback from peers. You can get that input from a colleague who is familiar with your recent nursing roles, or include feedback from a clinical evaluation.
Once you have identified your learning needs from this reflection, you can plan your learning goals, and the activities you need to do to achieve them in your Learning Plan.
How will I know I have been selected for Practice Assessment?
The College mails notification letters to nurses who are selected for Practice Assessment. The letter will explain what you have to do.
Do I have to participate in Practice Assessment if I am registered with the College in the General or Extended Class, but not practising nursing?
Yes, it is mandatory for nurses registered in the General and Extended Classes to participate in Practice Assessment when selected. Nurses registered in these classes are eligible to be selected for Practice Assessment whether they are practising nursing or not. Nurses in the Non-Practising Class are not required to participate in the QA Program, and they will not be selected for Practice Assessment. For more information about the Non-Practising Class, go to the Classes of Registration section of this website.
What will happen if I don’t participate in Practice Assessment?
The QA Committee addresses non-compliance with the QA Program in any of the following ways:
- directs the Executive Director to impose terms, conditions or limitations on a member’s Certificate of Registration for a specific time
- reports a member to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee if it believes the member’s lack of cooperation can be viewed as professional misconduct
- requires a member to complete additional Practice Assessment components at a fee to the member of $1,500
For more information, see regulations, legislation and by-laws.
How do I prepare for Practice Assessment?
Find the information you need in the Practice Assessment Guide. The College also hosts teleconferences to explain the process and answer questions.
As an NP, what do I have to do for Practice Assessment?
All NPs must submit a Learning Plan and write three objective tests. Some NPs will be selected for a clinical assessment.
What does the Chart Review and Interview Assessment involve?
This assessment is for NPs who have been selected for a clinical assessment as part of Practice Assessment. It assesses an NP’s application of the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Core Competency Framework and the Nurse Practitioner practice standard using chart-simulated recall and behaviour-based questions. The assessment is conducted by a College-assigned Peer Assessor, who is also an NP.
For more information, see the Chart Review and Interview Assessment Guide.
What does the Practice Simulation assessment involve?
This assessment is for NPs who have been selected for a clinical assessment as part of Practice Assessment. Practice Simulation is a clinical assessment during which an NP rotates through a series of stations, using standardized clients. The assessment provides a standardized means of assessing the NP’s competence in conducting physical examinations, taking history and diagnosing and developing a plan of care for treating clients. The competencies that are assessed are based on the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Core Competency Framework. The Practice Simulation is held in Toronto.
For more information see the Practice Simulation Assessment Guide.
What will happen if I am unsatisfactory in Practice Assessment?
The QA Committee addresses unsatisfactory Practice Assessment results by requiring a member to participate in remedial activities. Remedial activities may include case examples, learning goal revisions or specified continuing education. For example, if you are unsatisfactory on one objective test, you can demonstrate your knowledge by submitting a case example. The QA Committee does not have the authority to suspend or revoke your certificate of registration.
I have been selected for Practice Assessment. Can I tell my colleagues about it?
When you start the Practice Assessment process, you agree to keep the content of the tests and other assessments confidential. Breaching this confidentiality may result in an investigation and a finding of professional misconduct.
You can tell your colleagues about the overall process of Practice Assessment that is, that you had to write the multiple-choice tests and submit your Learning Plan. You can mention that a Peer Assessor reviewed your Learning Plan and assessment results, and wrote a report for the QA Committee. But you cannot tell them specifics about the assessments (such as, the questions that were on a test or part of a clinical assessment).