Pelvic health (internal examinations) performed as a component of the assessment and treatment of urological, gynaecological and rectal conditions, is an activity where additional authorization from Physiotherapy Alberta is required.
Physiotherapists on the General Register must apply for authorization to perform pelvic health internal examinations. The physiotherapist may only perform the activity independently when authorization is granted and noted on their practice permit.
Physiotherapist interns on the Provisional Register must apply for authorization to perform pelvic health internal examinations. Although physiotherapist interns are eligible to apply for authorization, they are required to be directly supervised at all times when performing the activity, both pre-authorization when they are learning the activity, and following authorization for so long as they remain on the Provisional Register. These requirements are established in the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, section 16(1).
The requirement for individual authorization for pelvic health internal examinations will come into effect when the revised Standard of Practice – Performance of Restricted Activities is approved and adopted by Council. During the period of transition to individual authorization, legacy providers of pelvic health internal examinations will be required to apply for authorization.
Who requires supervision?
Supervision is required when a physiotherapist on the General Register is learning to perform pelvic health internal examinations. That is, they are enrolled in an education program that will lead to eligibility for authorization. If this is your situation you do not need to inform Physiotherapy Alberta. It is your responsibility to ensure the supervision requirements are met.
Physiotherapist interns must be supervised at all times when performing pelvic health internal examinations, both when they are enrolled in an education program that will lead to eligibility for authorization AND upon receipt of authorization. Section 16 of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation establishes that physiotherapist interns may not perform this activity without supervision. If this is your situation, you are required to submit a signed supervision agreement to Physiotherapy Alberta demonstrating that your practice of pelvic health internal examinations is supervised by a physiotherapist on General Register who is authorized to perform the activity.
Physiotherapy students enrolled in an entry to practice physiotherapy program and performing pelvic health internal examinations while completing a clinical placement must be supervised at all times when performing pelvic health internal examinations.
What type of supervision is required?
The supervision requirements for restricted activities are outlined in Section 16 of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation. The supervision requirements for restricted activities differ from Physiotherapy Alberta's expectations for appropriate supervision in other situations in that there is no flexibility or discretion regarding in person supervision:
- The supervising physiotherapist must be present in the treatment cubicle or room.
- The supervising physiotherapist must be able to observe and promptly intervene (i.e., stop or change actions) if required.
Who may provide supervision?
A physiotherapist on the General Register who is competent and authorized to perform pelvic health internal examinations.
Requirements for Authorization
Applications for authorization will be evaluated to determine that the following requirements are met.
- Transitional: Physiotherapist on the General Register – Legacy Provider
- Completed a post entry-level pelvic health (internal examinations) education program that includes as part of the curriculum: theory, practice, safety and final (summative) evaluation conducted by the course instructor which resulted in a passing grade. If this is you, apply using this form.
*The transitional process will be in place until October 1, 2021.
- Physiotherapist on the General Register
- Physiotherapist on the Provisional Register
How to Apply
To start the application process first review the practice standards on Performance of Restricted Activities; Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct; and Consent as you'll need to declare that you've read them, understand them and will comply with them.
Next download the application form. (You may have to save the form to your desktop if you are using a newer version of Chrome or Firefox.)
All Physiotherapy Alberta forms are in PDF format which allows you to:
- Download the appropriate form for your situation.
- Fill in the form electronically, except your signature. You must print the form before signing.
- Save the completed form in case you need to make changes (works only if you complete the downloaded version).
Email your application and supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a few minutes to review your application and supporting documents to ensure they are complete and legible before submitting. Having to resubmit documents will substantially delay the application process.
What to expect after you apply
Registration documents and emails from all applicants and members are placed in a queue and dealt with in the order they are received. We try to deal with them in 6 business days. However, processing time may take longer when there is a high volume.
- Six business days for staff to deal with registration documents from the time received.
- Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we are able to approve your application in 1 - 2 business days once all registration requirements have been cleared/met.
- We will send you an email when your application is approved.
During the transition period, application processing times may be longer.
The authorization model currently only includes initial authorization; however, physiotherapists are expected to maintain their competence to perform the activities they are authorized.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Physiotherapy Alberta have a list of 'approved' education programs?
No. Physiotherapy Alberta does not maintain a list of approved courses to learn pelvic health internal examinations.
Members must select the education program that meets their specific needs and confirm that the curriculum includes the elements required for authorization including theory, practice, safety instruction and final evaluation. It is your responsibility to determine if the course curriculum includes these components.
Can I take a pelvic health course while on the Provisional Register?
A physiotherapist intern on the Provisional Register may take a pelvic health (internal examinations) course and may apply for authorization to perform this activity.
However, the physiotherapist intern must be directly supervised at any time when they are performing pelvic health internal examinations, both pre- and post-authorization.
The physiotherapist intern’s practice of pelvic health internal examinations must be supervised by a physiotherapist on the General Register who is authorized to perform the activity and the physiotherapist intern must submit a signed supervision agreement indicating that their pelvic health internal examinations practice is supervised and the name of their supervisor.
I just enrolled in a pelvic health (internal examinations) program. Can I start to use the techniques I learn in the program immediately or do I need to wait until I complete the program and receive authorization to independently perform pelvic health internal examinations?
You may use the techniques taught in the program PROVIDED:
- You only perform the techniques under the direct supervision of another physiotherapist who is authorized.
- You adhere to the supervision requirements outlined in the legislation which requires the supervising physiotherapist to be present, so they are able to observe and promptly intervene (i.e., stop or change actions) if required.