Registered Massage Therapists in Ontario are asked by the Quality Assurance Committee of the CMTO (College of Massage Therapists of Ontario) to maintain a Professional Portfolio. This, simply put, is a place to physically collect proof of your Continuing Education activities while acting as an RMT. They require four (4) sections to be maintained at a minimum for each cycle (3 year term). Any other sections that are to be included are entirely up to the RMT to add. The process of creating, and maintaining, a Professional Portfolio does not have to be daunting.
According to the CMTO.com the four sections an RMT’s portfolio is to be divided into are:
- Completed Self Assessment Tool;
- A record of CEUs, identifying the number of Category A and Category B credits obtained, and which competency or modality each CEU relates to;
- Proof of CEUs collected including receipts, course attendance confirmations, conference brochures, etc.;
- Responses to questions from the mandatory CEU articles published in The College Standard.
Who sees this Portfoilio?
This is a question that gets asked a lot. Many RMT’s don’t understand why they must keep a Portfolio, and who may access it. The answer is really short; you, and the CMTO.
If you happen to be selected for a Peer Assessment, the Assessor will most likely ask for you to provide your professional portfolio. The Quality Assurance Committee may also request directly for you to submit your professional portfolio at any time. You must comply with this request in a timely manner.
They will be looking that you have completed the four sections, and they are up to date. They will also want to see that everything is contained within the same portfolio and not separate areas of your room or clinic.
Constructing the Portfolio
The simplest thing you can do for your portfolio is to keep all your papers in the same file folder (Yes, really, a single fold file folder in your cabinet) for a single, 3 year, cycle.
Another option is to use a hard cover binder to organize your items. This would be one of the most professional ways to maintain and store your originals, or hard-copies, of records for the Quality Assurance Committee. You can even include dividers to keep the four sections separate. These items, of course can be obtained from a dollar store or a business like Staples.
What is a Professional Portfolio?
A professional portfolio is more than just a requirement of the CMTO, it provides you with solid evidence that you have participated in learning. This also affords you the ability to examine your practice from a different angle.
Your portfolio is a collection of documentation that represents your learning experiences and outcomes. These documents will include: Your reflections, and answers, for the Mandatory CEU articles, records of CEUs you have obtained, proof of the CEU activities that you participated in, and your personalized Self Assessment Tool (SAT). This portfolio is most commonly utilized during a Peer Assessment, but can also be requested to be sent to the CMTO usually via the Quality Assurance committee.
Your portfolio is your responsibility to maintain as the CMTO recognizes that massage therapists are self-sufficient and competent members of their profession. You are expected to self-direct the maintenance of this important portfolio and are held fully accountable for it.
What does the portfolio do for me?
Your portfolio will benefit you by providing a place for you to reflect upon the activities you have participated in, the learning you have amassed, and fuse these into your active practice. You will have a tangible way to reflect not only upon your learning, but your preferred learning. It can chart a direction that you are steering your practice towards and answer that all important question; “where is my career going?”
A list of some of the things your portfolio can assist with
- Identify areas of existing strength
- Identify sort and long-term goals
- Prioritize your future goals
- Create plans to accomplish your identified goals
- Gauge the impact of your learning on your practice
This can also be used to
- Aid with your performance review (employee or independent contractor)
- Prepare your CV (Curriculum Vitae, aka: Resume)
- Prepare a Business Plan
Why have Professional Development?
First, and foremost, it is mandated by government legislation that all health care professions maintain high levels of competence and professional standards. But there is more to it than that.
As a health professional you have agreed to give the best possible care to your patients. You cannot do this by falling behind and remaining stagnant. You owe it to your patients to constantly update your knowledge, refresh your skills, and learn new things. Professional Development is, really, about being the best you can be for your patients.
The contributions of professional development to your practice are wide ranging. They allow therapists to maintain their relevance within the profession, as well as with other health care professions. It gives RMTs an ability to actually anticipate the changes that are occurring and to develop a plan to respond to these changes.
Self Assessment Tool (SAT)
The SAT was developed by the QA Committee of the CMTO to “help registrants (RMTs) identify competencies and areas that they feel need improvement and to develop a plan to address them”. This SAT is to be completed every three years (CEU cycle) by each and every registrant. The outcome of this completion is to be shared to the QA Committee.
The SAT is actually a personally subjective questionnaire developed with input from peers (what did you think those survey monkey things were for?) of the profession. It is intended to help you identify your current skill levels, and develop plans for self-improvement and enhancement. The CMTO is now switching to allowing RMTs to complete this tool online, but you are still required to print off a copy and maintain it in your physical Professional Portfolio.
This document will form the first section of your Professional Portfolio. It will not be fully completed until such time that you are near the end of your CEU cycle. It is expected that you begin this document at, or near, the onset of your cycle. To aid you with your current cycle; you can make a copy of pages 11, 12 and 13 from the SAT of your last cycle. This can be your reference for what you have planned to complete in the current cycle. If it is your first cycle, ie: new to the profession, you are expected to print off an SAT and complete it according to where you believe your entry-level skills rate. This will, again, serve the basis for guiding, and tracking, your activities in your cycle. Key point: do not wait til the end of your cycle.
The CEU Record
During your 3 cycle the QA Committee expects you to accumulate 30 CEU’s. These are calculated at 1 CEU for every 2 hours of activity. 20 must be obtained from Category A and the remaining 10 can be from Category A or B.
In this second section of the Portfolio you simply need to represent the sum of your CEU efforts. Therefore it can be a really short section using just the CEU Reporting Form (available as a download from cmto.com). In essence; at least two pages in length.
The CMTO is now having RMTs maintain a virtual copy their CEU Record in their personal portals at cmto.com. But, again, they are wanting you to have physical copies (printouts) maintained in your Portfolio.
Proof of CEU Activities
This third section will be the expanded version of the CEU Record section. This is where you will keep your receipts, course attendance record, brochures, copies of certificates, peer conferencing, articles read, seminars presented, articles written, (eg: The author is getting CEU’s for writing this), research Project work, etc…
If you are using a binder of some kind, then in this section you can keep “sleeves” in which to place smaller items, or items you don’t wish to damage with hole punches (ie: certificate originals). These can be as simple as a page protector.
With the publication of each TouchPoint magazine from the CMTO, there are articles that are denoted as “Mandatory Articles”. Each RMT is expected to read these articles and complete a short questionnaire about each one. By reading, and responding to, all the articles in a cycle an RMT will earn 3 Category A CEU’s, maximum (meaning you now only need to get 17 Category A CEUs minimum).
The questionnaire may require a short essay answer to be written to show you obtained useful information from the article and can supply critical thinking when discussing it. Print out a copy of the questions asked and reference the source they came from. Place this printout, directly followed by the answer sheet, into your portfolio. Get these done as soon as you can, as the QA committee may request your Portfolio at any time, and they want to see you are up to date with the articles. This will also be true when a Peer Assessor comes to visit you.
That is it, really, and anything else beyond the above discussed 4 sections will be added at your own desire. Do not be surprised when your peer assessor skips right over the extras. It is’t a slight to you; they just do not require it as part of their check-list when they visit you. So, right now, you have the information needed to meet your minimum requirements for a Professional Portfolio.
Everything that is required for your professional portfolio base comes from the CMTO directly and can be found on their professional website. Any references that are used in this document are from the CMTO directly via their website. You can visit them at www.cmto.com to find these references. To create this document, of course, the author has navigated the website already and consolidated it for you. As of the publication date; all information is accurate to what has been released by the CMTO.
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