Avoiding Pointless Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
By Glenys Bridges
Avoiding Pointless Continuous Professional Development
Do you struggle to see any merit in completing the CPD required for you to retain your GDC registration? If you do it may be because you are not feeling the benefit of your CPD activities. CPD activities represent a significant investment in your on-going skills development and ability to deliver patient-focused care, so it’s vital that you can recognise and enjoy the impact of your learning in terms of increased job satisfaction and more patient–focused care. This can only happen when CPD options are planned to meet the needs of dental professionals in their practicing environments and when activities are output assessed to measure direct impacts of CPD activities upon your day to day work.
Since the introduction of CPD requirements multiple sources of input measured CPD has become available. Input measured CPD is recognised on the basis of time spent on CPD activities. The features of this type of CPD are that aims and objectives for the activity are predefined and to some extent the participant assesses the extent the learning activity, rather than quantifying what the participant achieved as a result of those learning activities, in most cases without reference to the impact of the learning upon the quality and safety of patient care the participant can provide. In some cases multiple choice questions measure understanding, directly after reading an article about a core or recommended topic. In the majority of cases there is no consideration of the practical differences this learning makes over specified a period of time. This is because the learning is input measured, rather than output measured.
The General Dental Council has commissioned a Rapid Industry Assessment of CPD in Dentistry to gain insight of the current dental CDP industry. They have also consulted experts on the development of CPD in other sectors in order to develop CPD requirements relevant to revalidation and ongoing quality improvements in dental care provision. The research discovered that there are four main measurements of CPD across the board:
- Input measured- the system currently used for dental professionals
- Output measured- in which practical development as a result of CPD activity is recognised
- Mixed combinations of inputs and outputs
- No formal measurement.
Across all professional sectors there is a steady movement away from input measured and toward output measured CPD. Output CPD is characterized by the fact that learning produces evidence of outcomes, which can be audited, or assessed to quantify the impact of the learning upon patient care. For output CPD outcomes pre-define the expected effects upon knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Impacts are measures of the long-term consequences of CPD activity upon professional practice. Output measurements of CPD indicate whether or not learning has taken place and whether it has had an impact. The problem being that this measurement format requires greater resources and more complex measuring techniques- all of which present a new set of challenges for CPD providers.
As the GDC fine-tune the ongoing requirements for CPD registrants are advised to look for CPD programmes offering:
- Support with CPD planning to ensure assessment and audits of impacts care noted and assessed.
- Help in developing Personal Development Plans for performance review outcomes
- Interesting and engaging course materials delivered on line, in-house or at public workshops
In response to this we have developed our CPD Options range to be:
- Practical and directly linked to the Standards for Dental Teams 2013
- Planned and continuous developed throughout the entire CPD cycle
- Consistent with mandatory and optional content requirements (these terms may change when new CPD guidance is issued following the 2013 Consultation on CPD)
- Output assessed for patient care and safety
- Continuously developing
- Delivered at levels appropriate to the needs of each team role
When investing time, money or both in your Continued Professional Development, it’s only reasonable to expect to see tangible benefits from your input. After all what could be the possible point of completing CPD that has no measurable impact on your professional skills?
Visit Glenys Bridges Training Website for more information or to contact Glenys.