Continuing Professional Development / Continuing Education (CPD/CE)

Original Editor - Rachael Lowe

Top Contributors - Rachael Lowe   

About CPD/CE

All physiotherapists and physical therapists should make an effort to continually update their skills and knowledge. By doing this they will maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice[1].  In many countries, such as the UK, this is termed Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and in others, such as the USA, it is termed Continuing Education (CE). 

Your CPD/CE should consist of a range of learning activities that are relevant to your current or future practice. The most common type of learning activity completed is the attendance on a course, however, in relation to Physiopedia the learning activitiy might be reading about a particular topic, contributing to pages or initiating a discussion in relation to existing pages. As long as you reflect upon these experiences and implement any new learning into your practice you can consider them to be a part of your CPD/CE.

Why CPD?

Regularly participating in CPD activities allows us to continue to learn and develop throughout our careers. Our skills and knowledge must be kept up to date to ensure that we are able to work safely, legally and effectively. This is essential in order to maintain high levels of competence within our scope of practice and to enable us to competently expand our scope of practice. By doing this we will benefit ourselves, our service and our service user. It is also important for many health professionals continuing professional registration.

What is CPD?

CPD is the participation in a range of learning activities that are relevant to current or future practice. It is a continually reflective process that encourages you to learn from your experiences and implement this learning in your practice. CPD experiences should be evidenced and recorded in a professional portfolio which can then be used to share with others or be drawn upon to produce other documents such as a CV, profile or statement.

Models of CPD

There are two main approaches to recording, measuring and evaluating CPD: one focuses on the quantity of learning which is seen as an input-based approach. The other focuses on the quality of learning and its impact on practice which is referred to as an outcomes-based approach. For example an outcomes-based approach to CPD, has an emphasis on quality and achievements where learning can be demonstrably linked to quality of patient care, service delivery and professional excellence whilst ensuring public safety.

The CPD Process

CPD can consist of planned events such as a course or it can occur as unplanned work based learning experiences such as a critical incident. As a planned event it will involve the identification of learning needs, the setting of learning outcomes and the making of an action plan to achieve these. Unplanned experiences will occur naturally during your practice. Where these incidents lead to reflection and learning then they can also be considered as a valuable part of your CPD.  In both cases the use of a portfolio to record the experience will encourage your reflection and learning as well as building evidence to support your professional development. Any new learning should then be incorporated into your practice which will lead to another learning experience and so the process continues.

Keeping a record of your CPD/CE

These CPD/CE experiences should be evidenced and recorded in your professional portfolio. Using a portfolio to record your learning experiences will encourage your reflection and learning as well as building evidence to support your professional development and continuing education. It can then be used to share with others or be drawn upon to produce other documents such as a CV, profile or statement

CPD Activities

Examples of learning activities that could be considered for your CPD can be seen here.

CPD Evidence

Examples of evidence of learning that can be used to support your CPD can be seen here.

References

  1. GREAT BRITAIN, Department of Health (2003). The Allied Health Professions Project: Demonstrating competence through CPD. London, HMSO (Circular 12/03). Last accessed 28 April 2008 at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Closedconsultations/DH_4071458