Continuing professional development (CPD): what is it and why is it important?

Continuing professional development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement to keep nurses’ licenses intact. But the importance of it is not clearly defined or talked about. This article from JP Medicals Recruitment explains what it is, its importance in detail.

What is Continuing Professional Development?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities are professional learning activities that registered nurses (RN’s) pick up to enhance their nursing career, practice, research, theory development, etc. It not only boosts nurses’ contributions to improving the health of the public, but also the purpose of their career goals.

The real purpose of continuing professional development is to help nurses keep abreast with industry practices, learn new technology, boost their competence, master the updated treatment regimens, and better their clinical expertise.

What kind of activities come under continuing professional development?

The continuing professional development can include a range of activities, both formal and informal. While some can be formally delivered like the workshop, group work, and management activities, some others can be informal like nurses receiving mentoring or coaching sessions, etc. Here is a detailed list of CPD activities;

  • research and development activities
  • reading and reviewing publications
  • taking part in conferences and/or workshops
  • virtual webinars 
  • compulsory training related to nurses’ specialty
  • clinical audits
  • general education courses 
  • educate on mandated continuing education topics
  • obtain nursing specialty certifications or advanced education
  • continuing education courses or training
  • specific continuing nursing education
  • field visits to different environments
  • shadowing
  • structured clinical supervision
  • peer review activities
  • coaching/mentoring activities

The importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

Being mandatory training that hospitals or organizations may provide, CPD has to be undertaken by all nurses to deliver safe and efficient service, without any risks. Here are some of the reasons why it is important.

Boosts knowledge and confidence:

CPD is important in a wide variety of nursing settings as it provides a chance to learn and develop nurses’ practice skills towards betterment in terms of career and advancements. With up-to-date knowledge and skills, it gives them the confidence to offer better service, better productivity, inspire innovation, and encourage retention. It makes them better contributors to a team. It helps them work like never before, and better their career as a lead, trainer, manage, supervise, and mentor others.

Helps withhold nursing practice license:

Though CPD has always been important to nurses and midwives, with some latest facilities that have made CPD mandatory, it has gained more prominence. One example is Revalidation’s prerequisite which includes a good 35 hours of CPD with 20 hours of participatory learning. This includes taking part in seminars, learning from workshops, or shadowing colleagues, followed by evidence collation into a portfolio.

To meet regulatory nursing standards:

CPD is important to meet regulatory standards. According to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities), the 2014 Regulations state that all staff must receive necessary support, training, supervision, and appraisals necessary to carry out their duties and responsibilities. To further update them, they need to acquire additional qualifications and produce evidence in line with the regulator’s standards in order to continue their practice.

For instance, in Wales (Health Inspectorate regulation) the NHS and the National Minimum Standards for Independent Health Care Services defined that nurses should participate in CPD to stay up-to-date and to be a part of the annual appraisal plan. 

Similarly in Scotland (Care Inspectorate regulator), the Health and Social Care Standards, though doesn’t overtly talk about mandatory CPD training, the people over there believe that staff with professional and organizational codes are the ones who are skilled, trained, and competent. 

To stay up-to-date:

CPD is crucial to provide an outstanding level of nursing care to patients with up-to-the-minute training. With everyday changes in the medical field, and with advancements in technology in medicine, it is crucial that nurses are upskilled for one’s own self and for the benefit of their patients.

To self evaluate and improve: 

CPD is necessary to assess one’s own skills and to improvise by seeking additional support in certain procedures. This gives your staff a fulfillment that they are doing their job to the best of their ability with proper care.

How is CPD tracked? 

Documenting evidence is one of the main requisites of CPD. Therefore all nurses should maintain all their CPD activities intact to show to their confirmer during revalidation. Here is what you should collate:

  • Complete information related to the activity including when and where it happened
  • The exact method of the CPD
  • Description of it and how it is related to your required field
  • Participatory and non-participatory hours in numbers
  • The activity’s relation to the Code
  • Any evidence that you recorded during CPD activity similar to a recording, video or audio (this helps in building a portfolio later)

CPD has to be continual in nature. It not only benefits the care receiver but you as a nurse too. With upskill in your profile, you can be spotted even by some of the leading NHS recruitment agencies in the UK like JP Medical Recruitment for temporary nursing jobs.

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