The concept of Canadian examinations and a national registry existed in the early 1980’s, however, the idea began to take shape in 1993. By 1999 the need for a Canadian Registry became acute to address accreditation requirements, bilingual policies and provincial regulatory issues. In addition, Canadian Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (CSDMS) surveys in 1993 & early 2000 indicated a 70% positive response for the development of a Canadian Registry.
Prior to the development of CARDUP, the only credential available to Canadian sonographers was the American credential conferred by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography® (ARDMS). ARDMS is a widely respected certification agency, but its standards are based upon the needs of the profession in the United States, which are somewhat different from those in Canada. While the ARDMS credential was widely recognized in Canada, it didn’t meet three important criteria valued in the Canadian health care system. It lacked a:
- Canadian focus which ensured that the certification exam was relevant to Canadian practice. The ARDMS examinations are based upon US practice standards, which are not always relevant to Canadian needs. Accredited Canadian educational programs train to the National Competency Profiles endorsed by the professional in Canada, the CSDMS. Currently there is no national competency profile in the US.
- Practical examination to ensure that registered sonographers were clinically competent when entering the Canadian workplace. No assessment of clinical skills is required other than verification declaration of clinical training for the ARDMS credential.
- Bilingual exam available to Canadians in both official languages. ARDMS examinations are not available in the French language.
Several years ago professional associations representing sonographers and specialty physicians in Canada approached ARDMS with a request to develop examinations to address these Canadian needs. ARDMS was unable to accede to this request. As a result the professional associations established CARDUP.
Therefore, CARDUP was created with the goals of being responsive to the needs of the Canadian medical community in both official languages and to the establishment of bilingual written and practical exams that reflect Canadian standards.
CARDUP has accomplished a number of its key goals since its beginning in 2000. These include:
- a nation-wide survey of the needs of Canadian employers
- the establishment of Canadian credentials for the Generalist, Cardiac, and Vascular sonographer
- the development and continual revalidation of a comprehensive National Competency Profile for the three sonography disciplines
- the development of a practical examination called the Clinical Skills Assessment, an integral component of the Canadian certification to ensure standardized clinical competency for all CARDUP-registered sonographers entering the Canadian healthcare system
- formation of the Exam Committee that have the responsibility of producing a large bank of high quality examination questions referenced to the National Competency Profile for the profession.
- development of bilingual knowledge based written registry exams
- psychometric evaluation to ensure the statistical validity and defensibility of the examination