Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD is a continuing process, outside formal undergraduate and postgraduate training, that enables individual doctors to maintain and improve standards of medical practice through the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour. CPD should also support specific changes in practice that will benefit patients.
- The College expects every doctor to undertake a minimum of 50 hours CPD per year, though most doctors undertake more than this.
- All doctors in non-training grades should participate in CPD.
- You must remain competent and up to date in all areas of your practice.
- You are responsible for identifying and planning your individual CPD needs, bearing in mind
- Your personal fields of practice,
- Anticipated changes and developments, and
- The needs of the service.
- CPD should include a variety of activities, including
- Formal and informal learning activities, and
- Local and regional/national activities.
- Employers should help to facilitate CPD.
- You must regularly reflect on what you have learned.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) FAQs
- What is the CPD Matrix and is usage mandatory for anaesthetists?
- What should an anaesthetist who works largely in intensive care medicine cover in his or her CPD?
- If I am taking a career break of less than a year should I continue to keep up with my CPD?
- I am currently working abroad as an anaesthetist but plan to return to the UK in the near future. How should I keep up with my CPD?
- Can I claim CPD credits for completing online e-Learning modules including those from e-Learning Anaesthesia?
- Is learning via podcasts, online lectures and other similar digital media recognised as CPD by the RCoA?
- Can I claim CPD credits for clinical visits?
- Is there a template to help document my reflection on and learning from CPD?
- How should I develop the objectives for my personal development plan?
- Can I claim CPD credits for work on guideline development groups?
What is the CPD Matrix and is usage mandatory for anaesthetists?
The RCoA CPD Matrix has been developed to provide guidance on the knowledge, skills and special interest areas to be covered in CPD. The CPD Matrix is not intended to be a mandatory tool, nor should you attempt to cover all the knowledge, skill and special interest areas. Rather, you should cover those areas which are relevant and applicable to you. It should act as guidance for doctors and their appraisers in discussing CPD during their appraisal in identifying educational needs for the future.
The knowledge and skill areas in the CPD Matrix are divided into three levels.
- Level One of the CPD Matrix includes core knowledge areas for anaesthesia, including basic science and medico-legal issues.
- Level Two is based upon both the knowledge and skills that are relevant to an individual doctor’s ‘whole’ practice.
- Level Three covers the knowledge and skills required by those whose clinical practice includes one or more special interest area in their routine clinical practice.
We have embedded the CPD Matrix into the RCoA online CPD system allowing anaesthetists to map their educational activities against these knowledge, skill and special interest areas.
What should an anaesthetist who works largely in intensive care medicine cover in his or her CPD?
A doctor must keep up to date in all areas of his/her professional practice. CPD that is narrowly focussed towards intensive care medicine is insufficient if the doctor undertakes clinical anaesthesia. A doctor will be revalidated against his or her whole medical practice. A doctor predominantly working in intensive care medicine but who has some anaesthetic committment will need to do an appropriate amount of anaesthesia-related CPD to satisfy their appraiser.
If I am taking a career break of less than a year should I continue to keep up with my CPD?
Yes. Much of your CPD will be through personal study e.g. e-Learning and reading journal articles. We recommend that you make up any annual shortfalls over the course of a 5 year cycle. Discuss with your appraiser your plans for CPD before and after your career break. The College has published specific guidance on returning to work after a career break.
I am currently working abroad as an anaesthetist but plan to return to the UK in the near future. How should I keep up with my CPD?
If you are working abroad you should continue with your CPD via available educational activities, e.g. local events and meetings, e-Learning, keeping up to date with the journal literature and other forms of personal study, and delivering teaching and training. Should you return to the UK and you are called to revalidate, evidence of your CPD whilst working abroad may be a useful source of supporting information in your appraisal and revalidation portfolio.
Can I claim CPD credits for completing online e-Learning modules including those from e-Learning Anaesthesia?
The College formally approves e-Learning Anaesthesia (e-LA) for CPD and therefore you can claim CPD credits upon successful completion of the learning modules. If you undertake e-Learning through other sources, we advise self accreditation and claiming of credits, on the basis that the learning gained is of value for CPD. To document and record this, the doctor should retain some form of evidence of having successfully completed the module with personal reflection of the learning gained (e.g. certificate accompanied by a personal review). The evidence can be presented to your appraiser as part of your CPD portfolio. Further details about e-LA and CPD can be found in the following College Bulletin article published in March 2013.
Is learning via podcasts, online lectures and other similar digital media recognised as CPD by the RCoA?
The RCoA does not have a direct role in accrediting, for CPD purposes, educational activities delivered via digital media. Instead, any learning gained from podcasts, online lectures, etc should be treated as personal study.
Can I claim CPD credits for clinical visits?
Visiting hospitals, departments and specialist units would attract external CPD credits. Credits should only be claimed if the visit involved observation and assessment of practice (ideally, against published standards) in anaesthesia. The recording of any CPD credits should be accompanied by documented personal reflection and details of learning gained from such clinical visits.
Is there a template to help document my reflection on and learning from CPD?
A reflective note template has been developed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and can be downloaded as a Word document. A link to the template is made available in the RCoA Guidelines for Continuing Professional Development where we state the following: Reflection on your own standard of practice is an integral part of your development and appraisal. You should also reflect on what you learn from your CPD activities, and consider the impact on your patients and the services in which you work.
To aid this reflective process the template includes a number of prompts helping you to formulate and document your reflections on any CPD activity including what you have gained in terms of learning and identification of future learning needs. Reflection should occur as soon as possible following the activity or event to ensure as much recollection and meaning as possible. Each section in the template should be completed and one word answers should be avoided. Good reflection goes beyond descriptive observation. Instead, it is demonstrated through evidence of analytical thinking, learning and action planning.
- Specific − should be explicit and clear and recorded in a way that could be easily understood by an appraiser and Responsible Officer
- Measurable − based on meeting an appropriate benchmark or standard prescribed when setting the goal, and therefore helping to judge whether the goal has been achieved or not
- Achievable − given the anaesthetist’s stage in their career and professional development and the resources (including time, funding etc) available
- Relevant − should address the priority learning and development needs identified by an anaesthetist for his or her professional practice, job plan, departmental activities and career aspirations
- Time-bound – an agreed specified time for achieving and reviewing the objective
There is no minimum or maximum number of objectives for a PDP, although many doctors identify around three to five every year.
Can I claim CPD credits for work on guideline development groups?
If you are involved in work reviewing, preparing or writing guidelines on behalf of an internal (e.g. your department or hospital) or external organisation (e.g. College, specialty association, NICE) you are entitled to claim CPD credits. These can either be Internal or External CPD credits depending on who the work is for – although the majority of the work in writing guidelines centres around private study and preparation, and this is an Internal activity. In order to claim credits it is generally required that you record the new learning that has taken place, your reflection on it, and any change in practice that will actually or potentially follow. These aspects should be discussed at your annual appraisal. You will need to justifiably claim that the learning has influenced your professional practice. On this basis it would be unusual for more than 10 credits in a 12-month period to be claimed for this type of activity.
Guidance for event providers on how to apply for CPD credits is available here.
- RCoA Guidance for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) This advice from the College was issued in January 2013.
- The RCoA CPD Matrix
- GMC Guidance on CPD (2012)
- Online CPD System
- CPD Guidance Framework for Appraisers and Appraisees (Academy of Medical Royal Colleges)
- The role of reflection in CPD and revalidation
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