Continuing Professional Development


Planned Self-Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the means by which members of professional communities purposefully maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills. Its purpose is to develop the personal qualities required for one’s work, implying a commitment to being professional, keeping up to date and continuously seeking to improve one’s practice. It is also the key to optimising one’s career opportunities, both today and for the future. It is usually considered an integral part of working life, not an optional extra.

There are many different ways of approaching one’s continuing education, and it is important to have clear professional goals, and to understand your own learning style. You may like to take a moment to consider these questions:

  • Do you need to supplement your training with specific courses? If so, what?

Professional Goals

What do you want to achieve in your work

  • in the next 3-5 years?
  • in the long term?

What continuing education opportunities would further your chances of achieving these goals (for example, attending specific courses or conferences, doing further training, undertaking a research project, teaching a new course)?

Your Learning Style

  • Do you like to learn privately by reading or researching?
  • Do you prefer to learn in groups by attending seminars, peer discussions or conferences?
  • Do you learn best from reading, listening, discussion, writing, or researching?
  • Do you like to follow a subject through to its deepest point, or to broadly develop your knowledge in several areas simultaneously?
  • What activities best match your learning style?

Combining Activities

What combination of activities would best provide you with an inspiring continuing education plan for the next year?

  • Supervision (group or individual?)
  • Your own research or writing project
  • Attending seminars and conferences
  • Reading and discussion groups
  • Teaching or presenting

Challenging Patients

An initial training programme may not provide you with the insight to deal with every type of patient or clinical scenario.

  • Do you have clients or patients who need something more from you that you need to go away and learn?
  • Do you need to supplement your training with specific courses?
  • If so, what?
  • Do you need to update your training by attending specific courses?

Personal Development Planning

This section is about thinking about yourself in relation to your professional life.

  • How closely does your work match where you are now in your life?
  • Does it reflect your greatest interests?
  • In what ways?
  • Does it complement your strengths?
  • What are these?
  • Is it restricted by your limitations?
  • How?
  • How personally fulfilled you are by your work?
  • What would make a difference to you right now?
  • Plan where you want to go, what skills and knowledge you need to get there and how you will acquire them.