As a specialist healthcare staffing agency, we often get asked by our candidates, ‘what is CPD’ and ‘why is CPD important’. In the first of a series of blogs on CPD we look at the three main reasons temporary healthcare professionals should be putting CPD at the heart of their career.
What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the means by which healthcare professionals maintain and develop their skills and knowledge. Healthcare is continually evolving so on-going CPD is essential to support you in your current role as well as helping you with career progression. CPD is all about upgrading your knowledge, skills and capabilities to remain effective and compliant.
Why is CPD so important for healthcare professionals?
CPD is an important practice for professionals in a variety of sectors and fields, but for those in a medical discipline it is essential. For doctors, nurses, dental staff, pharmacists and allied health professionals, embarking upon CPD can ensure their career progresses in-line with their expectations, as well as safeguarding patient care.
1. Remaining up-to-date
For healthcare professionals, it's important to remain up-to-date throughout their professional career. With many fields changing and innovating constantly, doctors and nurses need to remain familiar with the latest information and approaches, which usually involves engaging with CPD at some level.
This often involves remaining on top of case studies and other pioneering work, but also entails any new developments in guidelines, legal obligations and hospital standards. All of these, along with innovation, are equally important in terms of CPD and remaining a distinguished healthcare professional.
For those at the top of their career, embarking upon regular CPD can be the difference between being a competent professional and being an award-winning pioneer in the field.
2. Career progression
CPD is important for people at all stages of their medical career, from the newly trained, lower grades and bands to those who have reached a senior or consultant level. However, it is especially relevant for doctors or nurses who are looking to find a field in which to specialise.
Continuing professional development can help guide a career in a number of ways, enabling those practising medicine to see and engage with innovative new approaches and fields that may interest them. This is important as different disciplines can change unfathomably in the period between being awarded a degree and the point where determining a specialism is necessary.
3. Safeguarding patient care
Patient care is at the heart of each medical profession, and is the ultimate goal and benchmark that doctors and nurses should be measured by. CPD goes hand-in-hand with ensuring patients receive the most appropriate and highest quality treatment.
For example, a decade ago personalised medicine was almost unheard of but now most fields are researching the benefits of a more tailored approach and treating patients as individuals can improve results. This is relevant for professionals in everything from cardiology to oncology, with new research being published all the time in this area. In terms of CPD, continuing education better informs doctors and nurses of the options available to the patient, which in turn ensures that the patient has all the details necessary to make an informed decision about their care.
Although medical practice can sometimes feel routine for the very experienced, in actual fact doctors especially are required to make the best judgement in extremely stressful and unpredictable situations - with the welfare of a patient in the balance. Making a sound professional judgement, improvising where necessary and having a good patient record are vital for succeeding as a doctor or nurse. However, without CPD, it is impossible for a professional of any discipline to deliver this to their patient.
With revalidation being introduced for doctors and nurses in the UK, some medical professionals have a legal obligation to complete a certain amount of CPD each year or during a single phase of their career.
For more information take a look at our dedicated revalidation resources for doctors and revalidation resources for nurses.