Continuing Professional Development


Continuing Professional Development (sometimes called Continuing Personal or Performance Development) is a obligation for healthcare professionals, lawyers and certain other professions as evidence of a commitment to maintaining standards and keeping up-to-date with current policies, practice and skills.

Whilst CPD may not be an obligation for informal First Aiders, Instructors or many other professions, the rationale behind CPD is certainly still valid so what is it and how do we do it?


What is Continuing Professional Development?

CPD is the means by which we maintain, improve and broaden our knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities required in our professional lives.  It is both a practice of doing and of recording.

Paramedics, for example, must maintain and submit their portfolio of evidence to the Health & Care Professionals Council.  Non-professional health care providers such as First Aiders, Rescuers, Community Responders and EMTs, for example, are not obliged to do this but a record can and should be kept.


If I don't have to do it, why should I?

You probably already are - CPD is sometimes a deliberate action, such as attending a course or gaining further training, but it is also done less obviously by reviewing a recent event or reading an article in your spare time.

As well as CPD benefiting your professional capabilities it also serves as leverage when going for promotion or negotiating pay and benefits.  At the other end of the scale CPD can also serve as valuable evidence when your actions are called to account.

Without recording evidence of your CPD how will you demonstrate your increased skills or that your capabilities are current and in-line with best practice?


What constitutes CPD?

Work Based Learning

  • Training Courses
  • Peer review
  • Analyzing recent events
  • Awareness of Case Studies
  • Coaching from others
  • Discussion with colleagues
  • Project work or project management
  • Reflective practice
  • Secondments or job rotation
  • Supervising others
  • Visiting other departments or organisations
  • Shadowing others

 Professional Activity

  • Being a Trainer, Teacher, Examiner or Assessor
  • Being an Expert Witness
  • Being promoted
  • Giving presentations or talks
  • Involvement in your professional body
  • Maintaining or developing specialist skills
  • Membership of a special interest group
  • Mentoring or coaching 
  • Research

 Formal / Educational 

  • Attending conferences and seminars
  • Further Education
  • Distance Learning
  • Undertaking research
  • Writing for books, journals or web content

 Self Directed Learning

  • Keeping a file of your progress
  • Reading articles / journals
  • Reviewing books / journals
  • Voluntary work


As well as this step-wise approach to CPD, the Chartered Institute for Professional Development state CPD should:

  • be continuous - professionals should always be looking for ways to improve performance
  • be the responsibility of the individual learner to own and manage
  • be driven by the learning needs and development of the individual
  • be evaluative rather than descriptive of what has taken place
  • be an essential component of professional and personal life, never an optional extra


How to plan for CPD

Your CPD file should show where you are now, where you want to go (short and long term) and how you will go about it.

Things to consider might be:

  • Opening statement - brief history
  • SWOT analysis - Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats
  • Goals
  • Skills 
  • Qualifications
  • A Timetable of what you have achieved so far
  • Evidence - certificates of training, certificates of attendance, photocopies of articles etc.
  • Development Needs


For more information on CPD, contact the CIPD or, for medical oriented assistance, CPDme provides on-line support for developing your CPD portfolio.


Further Reading:  What to do after First Aid at Work?


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