One of the questions most frequently asked by clinicians when they hear about the Clinical Recognition Program is, "How will I know my practice level?" This question cannot be answered by completing a checklist or counting up the years of employment. It requires that you think about your practice and the impact you have had on patients, families, and colleagues.
To help you assess your level of practice, we recommend the following steps.
- Read through the attached descriptions of each level of practice. You’ll find that the descriptions refer to "themes" or aspects of clinical practice: clinician/patient relationship, clinical knowledge and decision-making, and teamwork/collaboration. Within each theme, four levels of practice are described:
As you read through the descriptions, make note of the differences between each level. Think of specific examples of clinical practice that would "fit" with the criteria being described.
- Once you have a sense of the levels, reflect on your own experiences with patients. The more specific you can be in your reflection, the better. For example, as you review the theme of clinician-patient relationship, think about experiences you have had working with specific patients and families. Look at the criteria for the various levels of practice within this theme. What level of practice best characterizes your experiences with regard to the clinician/patient relationship? You might find it helpful to think about someone who represents your "ideal" in the way he/she relates to patients. How does this person’s practice fit the criteria described in the levels? How does it compare to your practice?
Similarly, as you think about your clinical knowledge and decision making, ask yourself which level best describes how you use your knowledge to make decisions about patient care, how you organize and prioritize your patient care responsibilities, or how you seek out and use resources.
In considering the collaboration/teamwork theme, think about how you work with your colleagues in clinical practice and how these interactions have evolved over time. Consider the nature of your professional relationships with colleagues within and outside of your discipline, how you contribute to an interdisciplinary approach to care, and how you help create an environment that supports excellence in patient care.
- Having analyzed your own practice in light of the descriptions of the levels, ask yourself, " At which level do I practice most consistently?" You may well find that there is a range to your practice – that you generally practice at one level but, depending on the situation, may "visit" a different level. Ask yourself, "Where do I live in my clinical practice? Do I practice mostly at the Advanced Clinician level, or do I visit the Advanced level from time to time, with most of my practice being that of the Clinician?" You will likely find that your practice matches a particular level most consistently.
Look at the level where you think you practice most of the time. Challenge your findings. For example, closely examine the criteria at the next level. Can you think of examples from your own experience that fit this description? If so, how often do they occur?
Take your time in completing this reflection. It will give you an important starting point in thinking about where your clinical practice lies.
- Once you have given some thought to your own practice, make an appointment to talk to your manager/director. Use the meeting to talk about your practice. Discuss specific examples.
- Through your manager/director, you will be recognized at the Entry or Clinician level. If you and your manager/director agree that your practice is at the Advanced Clinician or Clinical Scholar level, decide if you would like to move forward and submit a portfolio to the Clinical Recognition Program’s peer review committee. The committee will review your portfolio, interview you about your practice, and determine whether you meet the criteria for the level you have identified.
To complete a portfolio for recognition at the Advanced Clinician or Clinical Scholar level, ask your manager/director for an application packet or click here to view the Application Packet.