Designing and Assessing a Scope of Practice Tool

    Designing and Assessing a Scope of Practice Tool

    Project Summary

    Reflecting on one’s professional practice is an essential component of continuing professional development (CPD) and developing a practice specific CPD plan cannot be fully understood unless the scope of practice is fully considered.(1,2) The core objective of CPD is to enable physicians to continuously enhance their professional competence. Professional competence is a complex construct that is grounded in the context of daily practice. Habitual reflection and acquiring and using knowledge to solve real-life problems are key components of professional competence.(3)

    The concept of a physician’s scope of practice is perceived in various ways by different stakeholders and even individual physicians may understand their scope of practice differently based on their practice realities.(4) Physicians’ scopes of practice change over time often narrowing as physicians age,(5,6) and can be influenced by many factors including: patient mix, practice structure, available resources, referral patterns, workload, patient demand for services and community needs.(7,8) Recent findings demonstrate that variation in these factors can lead to drastically different scopes of practice even within a single physician specialty area, requiring acquisition of new competencies.(9) Accordingly, as physician’s scope of practice evolves, their selection of CPD activities must align with these practice changes.(10,11) This is clearly evident in the CanMEDS 2015 competency framework (Scholar Role) developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) in which creation of a practice specific CPD plan is considered essential competence the Scholar Role.

    It is clear from the literature that reflection grounded within a physician’s scope of practice is: (i) essential for effective learning, (ii) a key aspect of professional competence, and (iii) difficult for physicians to accomplish. Yet there are currently no mechanisms developed to guide physicians to reflect on their scope of practice nor to understand how scope of practice information can be best captured and utilized for developing and monitoring a practice-specific CPD plan.

    The purpose of this project is to create a tool that enables a physician to describe their scope of practice as the first step in the development of a practice specific Personal Education Development plan.

    Project Objectives

    • To gain an understanding of the key factors that shape or influence physicians’ scopes of practice.
    • Use these identified factors to develop a tool to capture descriptions of scope of practice information.
    • Assess the value of a scope of practice tool (a) as a CPD exercise in and of itself, and (b) to provide important data upon which CPD planning can be developed and monitored.


    Start Date:11/17/2014
    Anticipated End Date:6/30/2017
    • Sponsor(s) / Lead Organization(s):
    • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
    • Sponsor(s) / Lead Organization(s):
    • The College of Family Physicians of Canada

    Interested in Learning More? Email Craig Campbell directly at .