Evidence for Continuing Professional Development and Recency of Practice Standards for Regulated Health Professionals in Australia: Protocol for a Systematic Review.
journal contributionposted on 2022-05-05, 00:17 authored by Penelope Main, Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson
Background: Continuing professional development (CPD) and recency of practice (ROP) standards are components of health practitioner regulation in Australia. The CPD and ROP standards are currently under review, and an evidence base to assist the development of consistent standards is required. Preliminary searching was unable to find a recent systematic review of the literature to provide an evidence base to underpin the standards review. Objective: This paper presents the protocol for a systematic review that aims to develop a current evidence base that will support the National Boards to develop more consistent, evidence-based, effective standards that are clear and easy to understand and operationalize. Methods: Research questions were developed to support the planned review of CPD and ROP registration standards. Major databases and relevant journals were searched for articles published in English between 2015 and 2021, using key search terms based on previous unpublished reviews of the CPD and ROP registration standards. The quality of the articles retrieved will be assessed using an instrument suitable for use in the development of public policy. The findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Results: In September 2021, our search strategy identified 18,002 studies for the CPD-related research questions after removal of duplicates. Of these, 509 records were screened based on their title, and 66 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility based on their abstract, of which 31 met the inclusion criteria. A further 291 articles were identified as relevant to the ROP research questions. Of these, 87 records were screened based on their title, and 46 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility based on their abstract, of which 8 studies met our inclusion criteria. Conclusions: This protocol outlines the scope and methodology that will be used to conduct a systematic review of evidence for CPD and ROP and inform a review of the standards for regulated health professionals in Australia. Previous research has shown that while CPD improves practitioner knowledge, the link to public safety is unclear. While there has been a greater focus on maintenance of certification and other quality assurance activities over the past 10 years, there remains great variability in CPD requirements across both professions and jurisdictions. ROP was found to be a poorly researched area with most research concentrating on medical practitioners, nurses, and midwives and no clear consensus about the optimal time period after which retraining or an assessment of competence should be introduced. As the CPD and ROP standards are currently under review, it is timely that a review of current evidence be undertaken.