Launching AMT’s Professional Development Standards
By Subhadra Gerard
As you will all be aware, AMT transitioned to a reflective model of continuing professional development (CPD) back in 2020. We have been using this system for 2 1/2 years now and it has been pretty successful.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t tweak it some more to make it even better.
The Board of AMT has been monitoring the journey of this still-relatively-new PD model and, in a recent review, determined that we could improve outcomes by developing a set of guiding standards.
The resulting AMT Professional Development Standards that I am introducing to you today clearly encompass the objectives of the current model, as well as giving AMT members clear direction and guidance on how to meaningfully fulfil continuing professional development requirements.
In a nutshell, here are the 7 standards:
Standard 1 – Logging activities
- Addresses the type and level of documentation needed for individual activities.
Standard 2 – Relevance and scope of activities
- Addresses the requirement for PD activities to be relevant to your current practice or projected changes in massage practice.
Standard 3 – Variety of activities
- Addresses the requirement for activities to reflect the spectrum of massage practice, not just one facet.
Standard 4 – Quality of formal activities
- Addresses the requirement that formal training be delivered by suitably qualified trainers, with an element of supervision and/or assessment, as appropriate.
Standard 5 – Quality of informal activities
- Addresses the requirement that these activities are of an appropriate professional level and are supported by written documentation.
Standard 6 – Quality assurance
- Addresses the goal that members will seek activities that enhance the quality of their practice.
Standard 7 – Audit of professional development records
- Addresses the requirement for members to engage with the audit process in a timely and appropriate manner. Just in case you need reminding, the AMT Board’s role includes monitoring the competence of member massage therapists. This includes regular audits of AMT members’ reflection records to ensure compliance with continuing professional development standards.
Professional development plans
When you read through the PD Standards document and get to #6, on quality assurance, you will see professional development plans are mentioned. I believe that creating and maintaining a professional development plan (PDP) would benefit most massage therapists. A PDP is not something you just keep in your head though. You write it down. Look at it. Review it. Make additions or changes to it as your career evolves.
PDPs can come in different shapes and sizes because they are used in a wide range of business/professional environments. You may be able to access a suitable PDP template that works for you on the internet but there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own from scratch.
In its simplest form, a PDP provides a framework that identifies goals, resources, activities and learning opportunities for growth. It also identifies milestones in terms of completion of goals and objectives – be they short-term, medium-term or long-term – that help you assess progress towards your desired outcomes.
A PDP is not static; rather it is an ever-changing document that assesses your current skill set, helps you set career goals, create strategies and uncover resources that will help you reach your goals. Importantly, it is a document you update as your goals, surroundings and priorities change.
In my view, there are many benefits that arise from maintaining a PDP. Having a plan:
- builds confidence and credibility, both in the work you do and in gaining new skill sets
- helps you structure realistic and achievable goals and a timeline for achieving them
- teaches you how to track and monitor your progress, and how to re-evaluate and reset in response to changing scenarios and circumstances
- provides clarity of purpose/direction.
AMT’s continuing professional development scheme provides you with the freedom to choose a range of activities within a self-directed learning framework. In other words, you are firmly in the driver’s seat. The flip side of this freedom is that you have a responsibility to choose and document activities that are relevant to the scope of massage therapy practice and pitched at an appropriate level for a health practitioner.
The AMT Professional Development Standards have been created to help you navigate AMT’s reflection-based model of CPD. We hope it will give you clarity of purpose, and serve as a roadmap for planning, undertaking and documenting your professional development journey.
It is my pleasure to commend the standards to you. I trust you will find them useful.
About The Author
Subhadra Gerard is a massage therapist and occupational therapist in Perth, WA. He took on the role of Chairperson of the AMT Board of Directors in May 2021. He is a devotee of the professional development plan.