Talking to You: An Update from the HCA Forums
In preparation for the regulation of Health Care Aides (HCAs), the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) has been connecting with HCAs and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), as well as various healthcare professionals, employers, educators, and other stakeholders to better understand the opportunities and challenges that will come with regulation.
We launched a survey in May 2022, and we hosted forums in June 2022, so that HCAs and our stakeholders could share their feedback with us.
What Regulation Means
Once HCAs become regulated under the Health Professions Act (HPA), the CLPNA will become their regulatory college. At that time, the CLPNA will change our name to reflect that we regulate two separate professions, HCAs and LPNs.
As a regulatory college, the CLPNA’s role is to protect the public. We ensure that professionals comply with healthcare legislation and regulations. We set standards and requirements and investigate conduct concerns.
A regulatory college does not advocate for the profession that they oversee or provide social or career opportunities. That is the role of an association.
A regulatory college also cannot negotiate conditions of employment, including wages and benefits. That is the role of a union.
What We Heard
1,600 individuals completed our survey, and 248 attended our forums. We received feedback from HCAs, LPNs, educators, employers, and various other stakeholders.
We learned that regulation will bring new recognition to the HCA role, increasing collaboration between professionals on a healthcare team.
Regulation will also provide improved access to educational opportunities, as the College will assume responsibility for HCA’s continuing competency requirements.
We also learned that regulation will improve accountability, providing clarity and consistency around the HCA’s scope and standards of practice. Many employers told us that they would feel more confident hiring HCAs once they become regulated.
Your Questions, Answered
The following questions came up frequently in forums and on the survey. Answers and updates are provided below.
The CLPNA’s role is defined by the HPA and associated legislation.
On December 9, 2020, the Health Statutes Amendment Act received royal assent. This act amended the HPA to provide for the regulation of HCAs by the CLPNA in addition to other changes.
The CLPNA is working with the Government of Alberta and HCAs across Alberta to make this a smooth shift towards regulation.
There is a yearly fee associated with being a regulated professional. This fee pays for the operational costs of regulation, which includes everything from continuing competence education to the software that manages registration.
The registration fee for HCAs has not been set. The CLPNA operates as a not-for-profit and will set fees as low as possible.
Once regulation comes into effect, HCA education and training will be standardized, helping to ensure that HCAs are practicing competent, safe care.
As part of regulation, the CLPNA will implement a continuing competence program. This program will be specific to the needs of HCAs.
Regulation of HCAs under the HPA will help clarify the role of an HCA within the healthcare team. This clarification will come through documents such as the Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and the Competency Profile.
Under the HPA, professions have scopes of practice that allow them to adapt to changes and needs within the healthcare system. This means that HCAs, LPNs, and Registered Nurses (RNs) may overlap in certain areas.
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