Q&A with a Healthcare CPD Associate

Leigh Schmidt, MSN, RN, CMSRN is the Accreditation Manager at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Leigh’s role at AANP involves review of activity applications and awarding of appropriate Continuing Education (CE) credit for Nurse Practitioners (NPs), as well as updating and maintaining policies and processes pertaining to AANP accreditation. She earned her Healthcare CPD Associate certificate as one of the September 2017 cohort of exam takers. Relatively new to CE, Schmidt talks about pursuing the certificate.

How long have you worked in CME?

CE is a new career for me; I joined AANP in July 2016. My background is nursing, so I have always valued the importance of CE as a healthcare provider. In nursing, learning is continuous and high-quality CE is vital to our profession. When the opportunity at AANP opened, I knew that I would have the opportunity to serve our healthcare providers, specifically NPs, in a completely different way by ensuring they received CE that met those quality standards.

What motivated you to pursue the Healthcare CPD Associate certificate?

My motivation to pursue the CPD Associate certificate was based on my strong desire to grow in my profession. As a “newbie” in the CE world, I knew that this would be the first step to really test my knowledge in the basics of the field. The CPD Associate certificate also provides a foundation to build on for the CHCP exam and credentialing in the future.

What is the most important benefit of being a Healthcare CPD Associate to you as a CE professional?

I believe that everyone wants to feel a sense of credibility in their professional life, so this certificate was a necessary achievement for me. It also opens me to a group of other professionals that are in the same field and have similar goals – hoping to use the upcoming 43rd Annual Conference to do some networking with them!

 What value does your Healthcare CPD Associate designation bring to your organization?

Because accreditation is my primary role and I am the sole designated reviewer for the organization, having the CPD Associate designation shows that I am dedicated to the position and am interested in professional growth within the organization. It also shows that I am motivated to learn as much as I can in the field of healthcare CE and want to be a knowledgeable and capable reviewer for AANP.

 How did you prepare for the exam?

I studied the Alliance National Learning Competencies and focused on the novice/advanced beginner levels. I also took the short 5-question practice test that is located on the website to get a feel for the types of questions that would be asked. Also, spend a lot of time reading the policies and materials of other organizations within the continuing health education professions; while we are all very similar, the more exposure you can get the more comfortable you will be taking the test. Finally, ask questions! Find a contact at another similar organization and don’t be shy – I would be happy to be that contact for you!

What would you say to someone considering pursuing the CHCP designation?

Go for it! I have been involved in accreditation for a little less than two years now, but all the questions I received were scenarios that I had encountered over my short experience in the field. This certificate demonstrates your commitment to the profession, increases your confidence as a professional, and I think it’s a huge step to becoming credentialed as a CHCP! Good luck!


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