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Physio graduates in limbo as clinical competency exams nixed, but still required for licensure

Because the starting of the pandemic, the licensing course of for brand new physiotherapists throughout Canada has been an limitless saga of technical glitches, last-minute cancellations and disappointment for candidates. 

On Wednesday, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators — the physique answerable for the administration of the exams — introduced that the medical part of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) will now not be provided, citing the pandemic and its incapacity to supply large-scale competency exams in individual. 

“It looks like the burden I have been holding round these previous 16 months has been nugatory,” stated Eric Bennett, a physiotherapy graduate in Langley, B.C.

He says careers have been stalled for a lot of like him, and their psychological well being impacted over the previous two years as a result of failure of CAPR to manage the examination.

The current announcement brings additional uncertainty over the way forward for physiotherapy licensing in Canada, he provides.

“It is simply exhausting. To need to constantly struggle and really feel like our voices have not been heard. It simply sucks.”

Final 12 months, CAPR developed an internet model of the examination that was plagued with technical points

The examination’s postponements and cancellations during the last two years have created a backlog of 1000’s of physiotherapists ready to get absolutely licensed. 

Though graduates who cross the written examination may fit as interim physiotherapists, the function comes with restrictions, together with decrease salaries and the shortcoming to specialize.

Examination now not provided, however nonetheless required

CAPR’s choice to cease providing the medical part can be the results of “a serious effort to evaluate and re-conceptualize analysis companies for entry-to-practice physiotherapy in Canada,” they stated.

Physiotherapy graduates say their careers have been stalled by the failure of the business’s licensing physique to supply a medical examination in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Nonetheless, whereas the medical part of the examination is now not being provided, it’s nonetheless a requirement to observe as a totally licensed physiotherapist.

In B.C., a candidate can not develop into a full member of the Faculty of Bodily Therapists of B.C. till they full a competency examination or an acceptable different.

“We’re in a far worse place than we have been earlier than,” stated Bahram Jam, a Toronto-based physiotherapist and member of the Physiotherapy Advocates of Canada.

“They merely handed the buck onto the regulatory our bodies to care for it.”

Jam says this can create a patchwork system of licensing throughout Canada, as native provincial schools both develop their very own exams or alter their bylaws to take away the requirement for a medical examination.

He says Canada’s physiotherapy regulatory our bodies have failed new graduates.

“The unhappy half is … we’re the one ones who’ve this challenge. Chiropractors, physicians, nurses, they’ve by no means had the difficulty in the course of the pandemic. They do not have this licensing disaster,” Jam stated.

Unified interim measures

Amanda de Chastelain, president of the Canadian Physiotherapy Affiliation, says there’s concern this can merely imply candidates will proceed to be pressured to attend whereas native schools determine their subsequent transfer.

“What we have to tackle fairly instantly, is getting these candidates who’ve waited as much as two years or extra [to move] ahead,” she stated.

jeremy lynn
Many within the business are calling on physiotherapy schools to take away the medical examination part for licensure. (Submitted by Jeremy Lynn)

She says the shortage of a nationwide examination will even create inequity amongst candidates primarily based on the place they dwell as every native faculty develops its standards for licensure.

The affiliation is looking on the universities to develop a cohesive and unified answer that provides equitable interim measures for all candidates.

UBC provides medical examination

B.C.’s faculty of bodily therapists has teamed up with the College of British Columbia to supply medical exams.

After ready for practically a 12 months and a half, Bennett was lastly in a position to take his examination final weekend.

The school is holding one other spherical of exams this weekend, but it surely’s an interim step because it decides the best way to proceed.

“The Registration Committee and Board of Administrators require time to debate the CAPR announcement,” stated the faculty in an internet assertion.

“The Faculty will even talk about the impression of the cancellation with the Ministry of Well being and different physiotherapy regulators in Canada.”

Bennett, Jam and the Canadian Physiotherapy Affiliation are all calling for the medical examination requirement to be nixed utterly in Canada, even on the native stage — however as a result of it’s written into most faculty bylaws, doing so could possibly be a prolonged course of.

In B.C., the faculty should apply for a bylaw modification to the Ministry of Well being, which features a three-month notification interval — which means the careers of many physiotherapy graduates might linger in limbo for longer.


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