The Microsystems Acupuncture Regulatory Working Group

Microsystems Acupuncture Regulatory Working Group


Standards of proficiency for microsystems acupuncturists. (see also Links)

The following document is based on the HPCís document on standards of proficiency for their members and has been amended by the MAcRWG to incorporate microsystems acupuncture. The microsystems acupuncture specific elements are in blue italics and the generic standards, which apply to all HPC registrants, are in black. The MAcRWG has discussed the level of specificity that may be required in this document, and the MAcRWG representatives are aware that there exist other standards of proficiency within other Complementary and Natural Health Care Council (CNHC) registered professions. The current draft standards are written to provide a suitable benchmark for the MAcRWG, which may not appear elsewhere in CNHC documentation.

Paul Blacker, John Gavin - June 2009


This document sets out the standards of proficiency for safe and effective practice that registrants are expected to meet. Registrants are expected to keep to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics, which are published in a separate document.

The standards of proficiency in this document include both generic elements, which all CNHC registrants should meet, and profession-specific elements, which are relevant to registrants belonging to microsystems acupuncture. The generic standards are written in black, and the profession-specific standards are written in blue italics, to help you distinguish between them. Any breach of the standards will be treated seriously.

No attempt has been made to create exhaustive lists of all the areas that each generic standard covers. The generic standards explain the key obligations that are expected of registrants. Occasionally specific elements of key obligations have been pointed out to illustrate what is required. For instance, we have highlighted the fact that the key obligation of maintaining your fitness to practise (1a.7) also includes a specific obligation about taking care of yourself.

If you are a student, you may only have practiced under supervision and not independently. Nonetheless, you must be confident that you will be able to meet these standards when you begin to practise without supervision. Sometimes the standards relate to ongoing practice and normally clinical placements will have given you the opportunity to demonstrate that you are capable of meeting these.


  • 1a:  Professional autonomy and accountability
  • 1b:  Professional relationships
  • 2a:  Identification and assessment of health and social care needs
  • 2b:  Formulation and delivery of plans and strategies for meeting health and social care         needs
  • 2c:  Critical evaluation of the impact of, or response to the registrant's actions
  • 3a:  Knowledge understanding and skills.

1a: Professional autonomy and accountability- Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 1a.1 be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
    • understand what is required of them by the CNHC.
    • understand the need to respect, and so far as possible uphold, the rights, dignity and autonomy of every patient including their role in the diagnostic and therapeutic process
  • 1a.2 be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner
  • 1a.3 be able to maintain confidentiality and obtain informed consent
  • 1a.4 be able to exercise a professional duty of care
  • 1a.5 know the limits of their practice and when to seek advice
  • be able to assess a situation, determine the nature and severity of the problem and call upon the required knowledge and experience to deal with the problem
  • be able to initiate resolution of problems and be able to exercise personal initiative
  • 1a.6 recognise the need for effective self-management of workload and be able to practise accordingly
  • 1a.7 understand the obligation to maintain fitness to practise
  • understand the importance of maintaining health and care for themselves
  • 1a.8 understand the need for career-long self-directed learning

1b: Professional relationships- Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 1b.1 know the professional and personal scope of their practice and be able to make referrals
  • 1b.2 be able to work, where appropriate, with other professionals, support staff, patients, clients and users, and their relatives and carers
  • understand the need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an independent practitioner and collaboratively as a member of a team
  • understand the need to engage patients, clients, users and carers in planning and evaluating diagnostics, treatments and interventions to meet their needs and goals
  • 1b.3 be able to contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • 1b.4 be able to demonstrate effective and appropriate skills in communicating information, advice, instruction and professional opinion to colleagues, patients, clients, users, their relatives and carers
    • be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7 of the International English Language Testing System, with no element below 6.5
    • understand how communications skills affect the assessment of patients, clients and users, and how the means of communication should be modified to address potential barriers such as age, physical and learning disability
    • be able to select, move between and use appropriate forms of verbal and non-verbal communication with patients, clients, users and others
    • be aware of the characteristics and consequences of non-verbal communication and how this can be affected by culture, age, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs and socioeconomic status
    • understand the need to provide patients, clients and users (or people acting on their behalf) with the information necessary to enable them to make informed decisions
    • understand the need to use an appropriate interpreter to assist patients whose first language is not English, wherever possible
    • recognise that relationships with patients, clients and users should be based on mutual respect and trust, and be able to maintain high standards of care even in situations of personal incompatibility
    • be able to explain the techniques of microsystems acupuncture practice to patients, clients or users.
  • 1b.5 understand the need for effective communication throughout the care of the patient, client or user
    • recognise the need to use interpersonal skills to encourage the active participation of patients, clients and users
    • recognise the need to provide relevant and appropriate information to, patients, clients, or users to enable them to make informed choices

2a: Identification and assessment of health and social care needs- Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 2a.1 be able to gather appropriate information
  • be able to gather information according to the principles and methodologies of the relevant discipline of microsystems acupuncture
  • be able to apply appropriate diagnostic techniques according to their training in the relevant discipline of microsystems acupuncture
  • 2a.2 be able to use appropriate assessment techniques
  • be able to undertake and record a thorough, sensitive and detailed assessment, using appropriate techniques and equipment
  • 2a.3 be able to undertake or arrange clinical investigations as appropriate
  • 2a.4 be able to analyse and evaluate the information collected
  • be able to analyse and evaluate information collected according to the principles of the relevant discipline of microsystems acupuncture, and use it to form an appropriate diagnosis taking into account sources of information from other healthcare professionals involved in the patientís care.
  • be able to investigate and monitor pathological processes and normal states according to the relevant discipline of microsystems acupuncture.

2b: Formulation and delivery of plans and strategies for meeting health and social care needs - Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 2b.1 be able to use research, reasoning and problem solving skills to determine appropriate actions
    • recognise the value of research to the systematic evaluation of practice
    • be able to conduct evidence-based practice, evaluate practice systematically,
    • and participate in audit procedures
    • be aware of methods commonly used in health care research
    • be able to demonstrate a logical and systematic approach to problem solving
    • be able to evaluate research and other evidence to inform their own practice
    • recognise the need to discuss and be able to explain the rationale for microsystems acupuncture treatment
    • be able to form a diagnosis based on the relevant discipline of microsystems acupuncture or Western medical principles of health and disease, using research, reasoning and problem solving skills
  • 2b.2 be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills in order to make professional judgments
  • demonstrate a level of skill in the use of information technology appropriate to their professionThe skills required for the application of practice
  • 2b.3 be able to formulate specific and appropriate management plans including the setting of timescales
    • understand the requirement to adapt practice to meet the needs of different client groups distinguished by, for example, physical, psychological, environmental, cultural or socio-economic factors
    • be able to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan / strategy and a considered prognosis
    • be able to set goals and agree a treatment plan / strategy and treatment methods with the patient, client or user, according to the patientís needs
  • 2b.4 be able to conduct appropriate diagnostic or monitoring procedures, treatment, therapy or other actions safely and skilfully
    • understand the need to maintain the safety of both patients, clients and users, and those involved in their care
    • ensure patients, clients and users are positioned (and if necessary immobilised) for safe and effective interventions
    • be able to evaluate a microsystems acupuncture treatment plan and any diagnostic or monitoring procedures
    • be able to select and apply safe and effective microsystems acupuncture treatment techniques for the alleviation of patient symptoms
    • be able to use a variety of methods including; needles, moxibustion, electrical stimulus, qigong, light stimulus and tuina, according to the patientís condition and the practitionerís limits to competence
  • 2b.5 be able to maintain records appropriately
    • be able to keep accurate, legible records and recognise the need to handle these records and all other clinical information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines
    • understand the need to use only accepted terminology (which includes abbreviations) in making clinical records

2c: Critical evaluation of the impact of, or response to the registrant's actions- Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 2c.1 be able to monitor and review the ongoing effectiveness of planned activity and modify it accordingly
    • be able to gather information, including qualitative and quantitative data, that helps to evaluate the responses of patients, clients and users to their care
    • be able to evaluate management plans against treatment milestones using recognized health outcome measures and revise the plans as necessary in conjunction with the patient, client or user
    • recognise the need to monitor and evaluate the quality of practice and the value of contributing to the generation of data for quality assurance and improvement programmes
    • be able to make reasoned decisions to initiate, continue, modify or cease treatment or the use of techniques or procedures, and record the decisions and reasoning appropriately
    • understand that outcomes may not always conform to expectations but may still meet the needs of patients, clients or users
  • 2c.2 be able to audit, reflect on and review practice
    • understand the principles of quality control and quality assurance
    • be aware of the role of audit and review in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance and the use of appropriate outcome measures
    • be able to maintain an effective audit trail and work towards continual improvement
    • participate in quality assurance programmes, where appropriate
    • understand the value of reflection on clinical practice and the need to record the outcome of such reflection
    • recognise the value of case conferences and other methods of review

3a: Knowledge understanding and skills.- Registrant microsystems acupuncturists must:

  • 3a.1 know the key concepts of the biological, physical, social, psychological and clinical sciences, which are relevant to their profession-specific practice
    • understand the structure and function of the human body, relevant to their practice, together with a knowledge of health, disease, disorder and dysfunction.
    • be aware of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process
    • recognise the role of other professions in health and social care
    • understand the theoretical basis of, and the variety of approaches to, assessment and intervention
    • understand the key concepts and approaches that inform the development of microsystems acupuncture
    • understand the key diagnostic methods relevant to their practice
    • understand the key causes of disharmony and disease, relevant to their practice
  • 3a.2 know how professional principles are expressed and translated into action through a number of different assessment, treatment and management approaches and how to select or modify approaches to meet the needs of an individual
  • 3a.3 understand the need for, and be able to establish and maintain, a safe practice environment
    • be aware of applicable health and safety legislation, and any relevant safety policies and procedures in force at the workplace, such as incident reporting, and be able to act in accordance with these
    • be able to work safely, including being able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction or elimination techniques in a safe manner in accordance with health and safety legislation
    • be able to select appropriate personal protective equipment and use it correctly
    • be able to establish safe environments for clinical practice, which minimise risks to patients, clients and users, those treating them, and others, including the use of hazard control and particularly infection control
    • be able to select types, lengths and gauges of needles, competently, safely and sensitively perform insertion, manipulation and withdrawal of needles
    • be able to recognise and appropriately apply, contra-indications for auxiliary techniques such as electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, or other interventions if these skills are within the competence of the practitioner

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