This past year the NCRA took a significant step in requiring Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs) to have a minimum number of hours of education in specific topics to apply for re-certification. The requirement to have 4 CE hours that covers the specific topics of directly assigned stage and/or site specific coding principles demonstrates that the NCRA is seriously assessing the professional requirements for employment of those with the certification and advancing the professionalism of members.
Many people think that a degree is the pinnacle of educational achievement. While it is a significant accomplishment, there is no degree that ensures that you are current in the latest advancements in the field. Continual self-assessment and self-directed learning for continuing education needs is what sets the professional CTR apart from others. A professional CTR ensures that he or she has the latest knowledge in the cancer registry field.
I have the privilege of knowing many CTRs that look at continuing education as a way to maintain their competitive edge in the field. They are not satisfied with just getting by; they readily accept every opportunity for education to include QC auditing of their work. These CTRs do not often ask for help, instead they research and investigate. Then they seek the consult of other CTRs to confirm their findings. These are the CTRs that never say someone advised them to code a specific way; rather they reference standards and guidelines manuals. They seek to learn what is correct.
If you think of the number of new data collection and recording requirements we deal with each year we are fortunate that only 20 CE hours are required every 2 years. That is less than 1 hour of education each month. Depending on your career path, how much education do you feel you need each year to maintain your professional integrity?
Jennifer Rohleder BS, CTR
Compliance Director, Oncology Data Management and Accreditation Services