Pearls™ is a program of evidence-based practice reflection exercises that facilitate the integration of new clinical knowledge into practice.
The exercises are available free of charge to College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) members, family medicine residents, and practice-eligible exam candidates.
How to complete a Pearls exercise
The Pearls template guides a five-step inquiry and reflective process that provides valid, reliable, and relevant answers to clinical questions. It also prompts physicians to develop a plan for putting new information to work in their practice.
Step 1: Formulate a specific question relevant to a practice
Step 2: Perform a literature search to identify evidence-based information to answer the question
Step 3: Evaluate the information by critically appraising the key article(s)
Step 4: Make a practice decision based on this information
Step 5: After an appropriate period of time has elapsed, evaluate the impact of this decision on the practice
Once complete, submit the Pearls form to the CFPC for review. Pearls is not a pass or fail activity; however, the CFPC reserves the right to withhold credit for incomplete submissions or for submissions that do not meet the requirements stated on the submission form. This assessment activity has been certified by the CFPC for six Mainpro+® credits. There is no limit to the number of forms that can be submitted in a Mainpro+ cycle.
You can find the Pearls exercise inside your Mainpro+ account, where you claim credits for continuing professional development (CPD) activities.
Once logged into your account, select the Mainpro+ logo at the top of the page to go to your Mainpro+ dashboard. From there, select ‘Enter a CPD Activity.’ Make the following selections on the Activity form to access the Pearls exercise:
Certification Type: Certified
Activity Type: Pearls
Once you start the exercise, you can save your progress and return to it at a later time before submitting for Mainpro+ credits.
Pearls is based on several guiding principles. Each exercise should be:
- Self-directed—allowing physicians to complete it at their own pace
- Practical—allowing physicians to explore information that is relevant to their practice
- Challenging—allowing physicians to examine their current practices, knowledge, and ability to provide evidence-based care
- Reflective—allowing physicians to assess the impact of their decisions after an elapsed period of time
Pearls should also challenge some of the traditional beliefs about CPD. In traditional CPD, physicians attend didactic presentations or read books and journals in a rather unsystematic way. Physicians are often presented with a quantity of largely unfiltered information—and from this information, they might extract only a few key items that could benefit their practice. Research has shown that few practice-based changes are made as a result of this type of CPD. A more effective way to integrate new information into your practice is to begin with a specific practice question.
Control in learning experience
The physician chooses the question and implements clinical decisions based on the results of an independent literature search. The pace of learning—determining when to initiate the activity, and when to complete the reflective component—is all up to the physician.