Judging by some of the comments to some of my blogs, some of you must think I sit in my office, scheming to write rules that make the lives and jobs of physiotherapists harder than they need to be.
When I wrote the blog “My support person hurt someone. Am I in trouble?” one person responded that PT supervision of support personnel has always been adequate and “the College just wants to keep changing things for no reason.”
Several of you suggested the College had created a new rule to make PTs responsible for the actions or omissions of the support staff with whom they work.
When I wrote that it’s a PT’s professional responsibility to report colleagues with physical or mental conditions which may impair their ability to deliver safe and effective care, you responded saying this was a “witch hunt” and that physios don’t have the skills to decide whether a colleague has cognitive dysfunction.
In my last blog, when I wrote about the sensitivities of having personal relationships with patients, one of you said, “Thank you for making our social world even smaller and the bubble in which you prefer we live in even larger.”
I didn’t make any of those posts up. In fact, none of these blogs were about new rules—I was describing expectations that already exist.
The expectations are found in standards on our website and in the practice of your colleagues. I was just writing to remind you about them, or maybe to point out a rule where the evidence at the College suggests a certain percentage of PTs may be slipping a little (or sometimes a lot).
The fact is I have no authority to make up the rules. But you do.
If you feel that the College’s expectations are wrong or out of touch with reality, step up and take part in changing them.
Self-regulation means the rules about physios are set by physios. There are legal and governmental requirements sometimes, and legislation requires that any decisions about practice standards make patients’ needs the first priority—but the specific content of standards and regulations is determined by College Council.
Council considers all of the research before it makes any decisions. They might look at things like worldwide standards for physiotherapy, the expectations for other professions, trends in regulation and the viability of enforcement and costs of implementation.
Once they have an idea of how they might want to proceed, they consult with members of the profession and the public in Ontario to determine whether there is an Ontario-specific expectation.
Council’s responsibility is to capture in writing the expectations of the majority of the profession so everyone practicing physiotherapy in Ontario shares the same understanding of right and proper professional behaviour.
Since Council is required to put the patients’ needs at the centre of every decision, the decisions do not always create the easiest path for physiotherapists, but they do ensure that the integrity of the profession is maintained.
Based on some of your feedback, there are physiotherapists who think that the College is getting it wrong.
If we are, then we want to do better.
We have begun reviewing every one of our standards to update them and make sure they capture the realities of modern practice: that’s one of the College’s strategic goals.
You can be as involved as you want to be. Watch the website and your email for opportunities to contribute your opinion. Your perspective will always be considered by Council, and I promise that we will report back in Perspectives or on the website about how Council responds to the feedback it receives.
In the meantime, keep the comments coming to the blog—although we don’t respond individually, we read every one and take them into account when we are deciding about what to focus on, preparing materials for our website or updating our standards. Even when you don’t like us, we’re listening.