Boston Children’s receives Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education

a pharmacist, nurses and a doctor with a child

Anyone in the medical field understands the challenges of planning a continuing education course. The accreditation process requires hours of paperwork and effort, and most course directors dread having to complete it. Since patient care is increasingly provided by teams, the need for continuing education courses to address team-based learning — with participants from different professions — is more important than ever.

With this collaborative learning mission in mind, Boston Children’s Hospital earned Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™ and was named the first pediatric hospital in the U.S. to achieve this accreditation.

This initiative supports Boston Children’s goal to provide continuing education to our pediatric providers and specialists. Joint Accreditation allows the hospital the opportunity to provide accreditation in a more simplified process across three disciplines — medicine, nursing and pharmacy. The accreditation is offered with one review process by three global leaders, including:

  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Notes discusses the process and benefits of Joint Accreditation with the Boston Children’s interprofessional team members:

  • Alan Leichtner, MD, director of Continuing Medical Education
  • Lesley Niccolini, manager, Department of Medical Education
  • Crystal Tom, PharmD, MHA, BCPS; pharmacy manager, Clinical Programs; director, Education Program; PGY2 Pediatric Pharmacy Residency
  • Gregory Durkin, Ed., RN-BC, senior professional development specialist, program manager for Nursing Education; associate director for Interprofessional Education, Boston Children’s Hospital Academy

Why was it important to pursue Joint Accreditation?

The ability to provide continuing education for teams consisting of physicians, nurses and pharmacists is the first step to having health care teams of the future learn together.” 

Leichtner: There has been an increased emphasis on team-centered care and efficient communication among all members of a team. The ability to provide continuing education for teams consisting of physicians, nurses and pharmacists is the first step to having health care teams of the future learn together. At Boston Children’s, we already have our SIMPediatrics Program as a principle example of interprofessional training, so moving forward with Joint Accreditation was an easy decision.

Niccolini: We knew we needed to change how we planned and implemented interprofessional continuing education. When we first heard about Joint Accreditation, we knew it was perfect for the hospital. We really want to streamline the process.

What’s involved in the Joint Accreditation approval process?

Niccolini: It took 18 months to complete the accreditation process. We started with evaluating and submitting our courses for approval, which was a challenge, because we had so many courses to review. Nursing had approximately 800 courses, CME had over 100 and pharmacy had a lot as well, so it took a long time to complete. Once we met their criteria, we were able to move forward with the accreditation process. This process included a self-study of all our programs, more paperwork and an interview. On Dec. 2, 2016, we received approval.

From left, Tom, Niccolini, Leichtner and Durkin

From nursing and pharmacy perspective, why is Joint Accreditation important?

Durkin: Our work in nursing is not performed in isolation. While we all have specific disciplines and approaches to care, we are ultimately working together for patients and families. Moving to Joint Accreditation accelerates our shared goal of providing continuing education by the team, for the team.

Tom: Joint Accreditation facilitates Boston Children’s road to high reliability. If pharmacy is able to learn in a collaborative manner with medical and nursing, it will further strengthen our teams’ abilities to speak up and ask questions of one another. We will have more awareness and recognition of what each discipline has to offer.

What are the benefits of Joint Accreditation at Boston Children’s?

Niccolini: Prior to receiving Joint Accreditation, we were receiving applications focusing on physicians. Now we are seeing a planning committee with the entire team — physicians, pharmacists, nurses and physician assistants. They are involving everyone to change education.

Tom: Previously, pharmacy had to go through a third party to obtain approval for continuing education credits for internal programs. Now we are able to approve credits in house, and our goal is to provide more education programs to both our pharmacist and pharmacy technician staff.

Durkin: Joint Accreditation resulted in the creation of new interprofessional bodies responsible for encouraging, supporting and monitoring cross-professional education. We are working hard to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, while at the same time recognizing that there will be kinks and obstacles.  Nursing, medicine and pharmacy are committed to making this work, while still acknowledging and supporting the profession-specific education needs.

Leichtner: The ultimate outcome for everyone at Boston Children’s is to be able to improve patient care and with Joint Accreditation, we are able to do so better than ever.

Watch the video and learn more about Joint Accreditation Interprofessional Continuing Education.

View our course calendar and learn more about Boston Children’s Continuing Education.