Part one: CPD myth busters

Published: 25 August 2016 CPD

Identifying, planning and recording your CPD can be quick and easy if you know how, says Louise Coleman in this first in a series of articles that dispel some of the myths surrounding CPD.

There are many myths surrounding continuing professional development (CPD); what it is, how to do it and how time consuming it appears to be.

The College of Radiographers (CoR) provides a definition of CPD and every word in the definition is important in understanding what CPD really is:

  • Something done more than once.
  • A professional activity, not an educational qualification.
  • A systematic process which includes evaluation and reflection.
  • Related to our scope of practice; what we all do daily.
  • A great way to develop practice and our careers.

This definition means that practitioners who say they do CPD but just don't record it, aren't really doing CPD.

The SCoR and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), promote an outputs or outcomes method of CPD.

This means that hours, points and credits are irrelevant. It’s the evaluation of, and reflection on, knowledge, skills, personal and professional behaviours, values, attitudes and beliefs that are important.

There are many good reasons to do CPD, not least because planned and focused CPD can help our careers move in the direction we want them to.

Thinking ahead and looking for opportunities can give our CPD focus and this means that we’re well placed to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

For example, a practitioner with an up-to-date CPD Now framework has their job application personal statement mostly written.

It just needs minor editing and inserting into the application form. The framework can also be copied into accreditation applications and used to describe your role and scope of practice.

Another example; a practitioner who’s mindful of their department’s short or medium term plans, can ensure that their CPD will help the department meet the goals set out in the plan.

This will undoubtedly have benefits for patients and service users and also for colleagues and themselves.

Another myth that pervades in imaging and radiotherapy departments is that CPD is expensive. It needn’t be.

There is no reason that CPD can’t be completely free. Every patient treated or imaged is a potential source of CPD.

Every work-related conversation we have with a colleague in the queue for lunch can be recorded as a piece of CPD.

Every student in the department has potential to provide an abundance of CPD opportunities – just start a conversation with them about their own learning needs and see where the conversation goes.

CPD needn’t be a solo activity. It’s much more fun to do CPD with colleagues.

Why not start a CPD club? It needn’t be face-to-face and the participants don’t need to contribute at the same time.

Participants don’t even need to be interested in, or working on, the same CPD topics.

There are many online tools that can be used to facilitate CPD clubs. For example, WordPress, Facebook and Google Groups. There are a multitude of others, pick the one that fits with what you want to achieve.

The most pervasive myth is that CPD takes a large amount of time to do. We’ll be busting that myth in next month’s article which will look at planning CPD.

Next steps

  • Log in to CPDNow and update your framework.  
  • Tick the professional outcomes that are relevant to you and your role.
  • Ask your manager what the department’s short and medium term goals are.
  • Take part in an online live tutorial.
  • Read next month’s article on planning CPD
  • Reflect on what CPD means to you – use the prompts in CPD Now.
  • Set up an online CPD club – we’d love to hear how it goes.