COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated May 21, 2020

Due to the rapidly evolving outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (the College) has put together some FAQs to help members continue to provide ethical, competent and safe professional services within legislative parameters in the circumstances unique to this pandemic. We understand that COVID-19 will have a significant impact on MRTs and ENPs.

Do I have to provide service if I feel it is unsafe for me to do so because the patient might be infected with the virus?

Self-regulated professionals have an obligation to provide services to patients at all times, regardless of the type of illness the patient might have (Code of Ethics, Principle 1: Responsibility to the public, indicator a). As an MRT or ENP, you have a diverse set of skills that allows you to work with challenging health conditions, infections being one of them. During a pandemic, MRTs and ENPs provide care using appropriate safety precautions.

It’s also important that you’re supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing. Employers (including private community clinics and Alberta Health Services) are also providing support and guidance to healthcare professionals at this time so that you may continue to provide professional services to your patients.

I may be asked to do something outside of my comfort zone (e.g., work at a different site). Should I do what is asked of me?

In these unprecedented times, we may find ourselves stepping outside of our daily routines. A pandemic situation calls for extraordinary effort from all healthcare professionals. Consider using a simple decision making process — is what is requested ethical? Do I have the competency to do this work? Our regulatory standards are designed to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations. By using professional judgment, working in collaboration with other healthcare workers serving the best interests of patients (Standard 3.1: Collaboration/Professional Relationships, indicator a) and practicing within the limits of your competence (Standard 2.2: Professional Competence, indicator c) you may continue to provide essential care to Albertans during this pandemic.

Working within a quickly evolving environment such as the pandemic can be challenging and it will be important for regulated members to be mindful of and practice in accordance with any direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and emerging policies and procedures pertaining to COVID-19 management set by their employer.

All regulated healthcare professionals may be asked to work in an area that they are less familiar with during a pandemic. Temporary re-deployment is a legitimate employer practice to ensure they can meet the needs of the public they serve every day. You and your employer have an accountability to ensure patients are receiving safe and competent care. It is also very important to note that a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, is not a usual circumstance. This fast-evolving situation may result in a different decision at a different time.

MRTs and ENPs are responsible and accountable for the care they provide and must practice to their level of competence. Although there are elements of professional knowledge and entry-level competencies that cross a broad spectrum of patient groups and areas of practice, they may only be able to do part of a procedure in the setting to which they may be re-deployed.

Regulated members need to assess and communicate the procedures that they can do competently. The discussion with their manager could include asking for an orientation to the new practice setting, asking questions to understand the expectations of them in this situation, and asking for an identified experienced staff member to be a buddy to answer questions when needed.

Healthcare professionals, including MRTs and ENPs, play a significant role in containing the spread of COVID-19. It is vital that MRTs and ENPs adhere to Infection Prevention and Control guidelines.

Alberta Health has effective infection prevention and control measures in place for COVID-19. MRTs and ENPs are required to use appropriate infection prevention and control procedures in the course of providing diagnostic or therapeutic services (Standard 4.2: Safe Practice, indicator e, f).

MRTs and ENPs must:

  • Use good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand-washing
  • Utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately
  • Adhere with AHS routine practices, including isolation procedures
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and high touch areas as per routine practices

In this type of emergency, MRTs and ENPs are expected to act in the best interests of Albertans at all times within the boundaries of their knowledge and competence (Code of Ethics, Principle 2: Responsibility to the profession, indicator c). You are essential members of the healthcare team, and we thank you for your dedication to provide Albertans safe and competent care during these challenging times.

I am no longer working. What are my options regarding registration?

Regulated members continuing to reside in Alberta may have stopped work due to a variety of reasons such as parental leave, sabbaticals, illness or taking care of a loved one. You may consider switching to a non-practicing associate registration or you may resign your registration. In doing either of these, you should know:

  • Associates and resigned members are not allowed to use protected professional titles or practice any aspect of the profession. Practice involves not only the clinical and technical aspects of the profession; it also includes, but is not limited to, functions of education, management, research and administration.
  • Regulated members choosing to resign or switch to an associate registration before June 30 may be eligible for a $225 refund.
  • Once your change of registration request has been received and approved, your general registration will be changed to an associate registration for the rest of the year.
  • When you apply for general registration in the future, you will be required to meet all registration requirements at the time of application and meet the practice hour requirement of 800 working hours of practice in the appropriate area of practice within the five years immediately preceding the date the registrar receives a complete general registration application.
  • Associates are not required to meet continuing competence requirements. If you have been selected to participate in a continuing competence audit and have not yet met your audit requirements, you will be required to do so at the time you apply to reinstate your practice permit.

To submit a completed Registration Change Application or for questions regarding your registration please contact us at registration@acmdtt.com.

Do I have any professional obligation to report unsafe practices?

MRTs and ENPs have a professional obligation and duty to report unprofessional activity in accordance with the Standards of Practice (Standard 2.1: Legislation, Standards and Ethics, indicator f), Code of Ethics (Principle 2: Responsibility to the profession, indicator d), the HPA, and other relevant legislation.

The Government of Alberta has put legal orders in place to protect the health and safety of Albertans. If you have reasons to believe a patient or other healthcare provider is not complying with the Alberta Health order, you are obligated to report. Reports can be made to the medical officer of health online and regulated health providers can be reported to the complaints department of their respective regulatory college.

What do I need to know about Alberta’s relaunch strategy?

On April 30, 2020 the Government of Alberta announced a three-phase relaunch strategy for easing restrictions put in place during the COVID19 pandemic. This strategy allows for a phased reopening of many areas of the economy and includes medical and healthcare procedures. For information about the relaunch please see the Government of Alberta website.

As a regulatory college established under the Health Professions Act, we are required to provide COVID-19 workplace guidelines to our regulated members as part of Alberta’s relaunch strategy. These guidelines include practice expectations for MRTs and ENPs for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. As a self-regulated professional, an MRT works effectively as a member of an interprofessional team serving the best interests of the patient (Standard 3.1: Collaboration/Professional Relationships, indicator a).

Have the CCP requirements changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The College recognizes that the current COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta has MRTs and ENPs facing difficult times, including unanticipated job loss and changes in areas of practice.

Regulated members have been called upon to fill an unprecedented and complex need during the global pandemic. This need came upon the profession quickly and gave our members little time to adequately prepare for the magnitude of the response required. They have had to learn and adapt to new information, and to develop skills or competencies that cannot be taught through formal continuing education — they are learned through experience and practical application. The College recognizes that this unique experience has resulted in learning, greater understanding and skill development for all members.

The College Council, Competence Committee and Registrar have considered this constantly evolving situation very carefully, and based on the information before them at this time, they have made two changes to the current CCP cycle that runs from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020.

1. Members are required to complete two hours of learning for every month they hold general registration during the 2019-20 cycle, up to a maximum of 12 required hours.

Regulated members who are registered for more than six months during this cycle will automatically be granted two more hours for each additional month in recognition of the time they are spending managing, adapting and updating their skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. These hours do not need to be logged in My CCP and will bring the total learning hours to 24 for those registered for the full cycle.

Given the College mandate to serve the best interest of the public, this one-time adjustment recognizes the unique hardship presented by the pandemic while acknowledging that it is still important for members to maintain competence in their area of practice. Please remember that College courses, including the Regulation Education Module, Heightening Professional Boundaries and Occupational Health and Safety in the Health Care Environment and the AFRHP Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct course are free and may be counted for up to four hours each towards a CCP cycle.

2. Members who are selected for the Competence Committee audit in 2019-20 can choose to defer their audit to the next year.

In summary, we have adjusted the minimum number of learning hours and are providing flexibility to defer the Competence Committee audit to acknowledge the challenges our members are experiencing due to the pandemic. We continue to monitor the environment for data to ascertain how long this pandemic will last, whether there will be a resurgence, and how to ensure capacity to respond appropriately to the needs of the public, members, volunteers and College staff.

Please feel welcome to contact Alefiyah Gulamhusein if you have any questions about the CCP.

What if I have another question that wasn't answered here?

The College is here to support you. Please feel welcome to contact us at info@acmdtt.com with any questions or concerns.


Code of Ethics

Principle 1 – Responsibility to the public

a. Competent care
A regulated member’s primary responsibility is to provide competent service to patients with respect to their individual needs and overall welfare.

Principle 2 – Responsibility to the profession

c. Boundaries of competence
A regulated member limits their practice to those techniques and procedures which the member is competent and currently authorized to perform by virtue of education and experience and is consistent with the College’s standards.

d. Duty to report
A regulated member takes appropriate action in responding to situations which jeopardize the care of patients or bring harm to the profession.

View the entire Code of Ethics

Standards of Practice

Standard 2.1: Legislation, Standards and Ethics

A regulated member of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists adheres to the legislative requirements governing the practice of the member’s specialty, the College’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Indicators
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:
f. Report abuse, incapacity or unprofessional activity in the work environment.

Standard 2.2: Professional Competence

A regulated member of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists limits their professional practice to those techniques and procedures that the member is competent to perform, and which are consistent with the College’s Standards. The member is responsible for life-long learning to maintain competence in their practice.

Indicators
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:
c. Maintain knowledge of current and evolving technologies and integrate new learning into practice, as appropriate.

Standard 3.1: Collaboration/Professional Relationships

A regulated member of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists works effectively as a member of an interprofessional team to facilitate safe, competent and ethical service delivery, and to contribute to a positive work environment.

Indicators
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:
a. Exhibit professionalism as a member of an interprofessional team, serving the best interests of the patient.

Standard 4.2: Safe Practice

A regulated member of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists exercises due diligence for the safety of patients, colleagues, self and the general public when conducting procedures and providing services. The member also maintains safe work practices and effectively manages any potential risk to safety by adhering to relevant provincial and federal regulations and employer/organization policies and procedures.

Indicators
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:
e. Apply the appropriate infection prevention and control standards to prevent contamination of persons, equipment and environment (e.g., perform aseptic or sterile technique, isolation precautions, use and reprocessing of reusable medical devices and employ routine practices).
f. Recognize an emergency situation and take appropriate action (e.g., seek help, administer first aid/basic life support).

View the entire Standards of Practice