Advice line: what is credentialing?

What is credentialing, why do we need it – and is it even a word? Sally Gosling explains.

‘Credentialing’ is increasingly used in schemes that recognise that individual healthcare practitioners hold a defined set of capabilities. These might relate to a particular level or scope of practice, or to a particular role – often at an advanced practice level. 
Credentialing schemes can support practitioners to develop their practice and progress into more flexible job roles within changing models of service delivery and care. They can build confidence that individual practitioners have the knowledge and skills to practise safely and effectively, and strengthen consistency in professional activity and standards. Credentialing can also enable practitioners to evidence that they have a set of specific capabilities that are transferable across roles, services or employers, so enhancing workforce mobility and facilitate job moves.  
For all these reasons, the CSP needs to engage with credentialing, to ensure both the physiotherapy profession and our members gain recognition for their knowledge, skills and professionalism, and have the opportunity to take on new roles as service delivery models change. This includes roles not defined by a particular profession. 
For the CSP, the risks in not engaging with credentialing include, potentially, members having fewer opportunities for professional development because their knowledge and skills aren’t recognised, and the CSP losing influence over how physiotherapy practice and job roles evolve. 
The issues involved in credentialing are complex, with the resource implications potentially significant. The CSP council has identified the need to explore the issues in depth, including through a full options appraisal of possible approaches, from all perspectives. Building on initial activity, we will progress further work, overseen by the new professional committee. Recommendations will be put back to council. 
As a member, you will be kept posted and there will be opportunities to engage as exploratory work continues. 
  • Sally Gosling is assistant director of the CSP
Author: Sally Gosling assistant director of the CSP

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