Stuck on CPD

I have had a few conversations lately both on and offline around continuing professional development (CPD)  in nursing, I guess its only natural as more and more of us are revalidating CPD is very much on our minds.  However with austerity still very much the order of the day it worries me that many nurses still remain very fixed in their idea of CPD. I had a conversation with a nurse a little while back who was absolutely adamant that CPD only counted if it took place in a classroom, he was utterly convinced that this was the case until I showed him what the NMC (2017) say about CPD:

Screenshot 2017-08-02 17.53.09

Why was he so fixed in his idea of CPD? I guess historically CPD is something that has always “happened” to us as nurses.  I recall as a newly qualified nurse we had training sessions on the ward I worked, where people came in to teach us about different areas or skills, we were also sent on training courses regularly and CPD was something that came to us from our employer.  Most of the CPD I did was passively sat in a classroom like environment, being talked at – CPD wasn’t something I had to actively do.  So perhaps this has something to do with the reason why so many of us are so fixed in our view of what counts as CPD in nursing?

I have three problems with this idea of CPD:

Firstly – I am not so sure that sitting passively and being talked at in a classroom is really the best way to learn and develop.  I know that it’s certainly not the case with me – I need to actively discuss things, have the scope to read or find out more, explore ideas, try things out and actually “do” instead of just sit and take notes.  A few years ago I came across this on Twitter:


(Source: )

I’m not sure if it’s steeped in any good quality evidence or research but it makes sense to me. I certainly know that passive learning is not for me, conversation, discussion, doing and showing seem to work much better. 

Secondly – There is no money… austerity reigns and classroom based CPD is expensive. Theres the cost of the venue, the speaker(s), the cost of lost work hours and also the cost of travel and expenses.  There has to be a smarter way that gathering people together at a venue … in fact we know there is, we just need to start using them.

Thirdly – We should take control of what we learn.  As a practicing nurse I have interests in social media, elderly care and dementia … learning IVI’s, TPA , BAL, HFEA or some other acronym is not really where i want to take my learning.  I was my CPD to be based around my needs.  I want to dictate when i do it, how I do it and what its on … its my learning after all.

How do we move with the times? How do we change our mindset regarding CPD – perhaps the answer is in developing . social mindset.  I really like this sketchnote by @tnvora that explores social mindset, in particular the social learning element:

social mindset

Social learning is about taking our traditional idea of learning and giving it a good shake.  I love the term “working out loud” and I think that the potential to apply this is nursing is huge.  learning together, developing communities of practice and creating an ecosystem of learning when and where we want it is, in my opinion, a very attractive proposition.

Isn’t it time that we took hold of CPD and turned it on its head? Isn’t it time we took responsibility for it? Isn’t it time we took control of it?  Isn’t it time to stop being passive about our learning as nurses? I think that social learning is the way forward – it’s time to step out of the classroom and into individualised lifelong social learning.

4 thoughts on “Stuck on CPD

  1. Opportunities are out there. I provide Simulation. It clearly meets CPD requirements including active reflection in debriefing yet have struggled to get Nurses to attend even for a 45 minute session. No cost to trust (I’m already being paid) help to provide more effective teams, more situationally aware practitioners and contribute to safer practice but managers just won’t release staff unless it’s mandatory.
    If you are self motivated then please, approach your local Sim facilitators they will invariably say yes!
    Thanks for the blog

  2. Thanks Phil – and this is exactly what i mean … thinking differently about CPD is about creating and embracing opportunity where we see it. I think self motivation has a lot to do with it and am sad to hear that practitioners can’t be released, such a shame when the opportunity is there. Tree :)

  3. Really chimes, Teresa.. Have had several heated conversations with colleagues who suggest that you hav3 to have evidence of certificated CPD activities, in order to re-validate – as if it is the certificate itself that indicates learning. Agree that in times of austerity, we do need to think creatively about how we develop and learn. What about twitter chats, journal clubs, shadowing someone, agreeing to teach or mentor others?

  4. Thanks for your comment Sinead – the NMC are very clear that this is not the case, but i feel your pain, some nurses are so fixed in their idea of CPD and that CPD is something that they receive not something they actively seek and get involved in. I hope that slowly and surely things are changing … until then perhaps it’s up to us to keep challenging ?

Comments are closed.