This Blog explains a bit about CPD activities as relevant to a doctor appraisal.
CPD activities should be very broadly defined and include personal, opportunistic and experiential learning as well as activities targeted at identifying ’unknown unknowns’. Any learning activity where you spend time learning something relevant to your current, or proposed, scope of work, and working out how to put your learning into practice, can be counted as CPD, but you should only expend time and energy in documenting a proportionate amount of your most relevant and important learning.
The aim is to demonstrate a balance of learning across the curriculum relevant to your scope of work over the five year revalidation cycle. GPs should be choosing to demonstrate reflection on their most valuable learning events across a variety of ways of learning, including personal reading and elearning from looking things up, as well as online modules, learning from professional conversations about clinical care and all the everyday sources of learning that arise from their work, and feedback about their work, not just from time taken out to go to courses and conferences. As there is so much learning in primary care that takes place in teams, it is advisable, where applicable, to demonstrate where this has led to important changes and developments. It is also important, where possible, to demonstrate some learning with others outside the usual workplace to allow for external calibration of ideas and processes.
When you have spent time undertaking a learning activity to ensure that you keep up-to-date, it does not always result in learning something new. If it simply reinforces your existing knowledge and skills, and you discover that you are already up-to-date without learning anything new, you can still demonstrate CPD credits by providing a reflective note that explains that there are no changes that you need to make at the current time. This can be very reassuring and the RCGP recommends that you include it in your learning log.
You do not have to do the same amount, or variety, of CPD every year. Your revalidation recommendation will be informed by a portfolio that will (normally) cover a five year cycle. The RCGP recommends that GPs should learn from a wide variety of sources and ensure that they are actively keeping themselves up-to-date at all times (when they are fit to work) as part of normal professional practice. The documentation of CPD for appraisal and revalidation purposes should be viewed as a selective process that must be kept reasonable and proportionate, with GPs choosing to document their reflection on their most important learning and any changes made as a result. In order to demonstrate that you keep up-to-date every year, it is important to reflect on your CPD every year.
It is reasonable to average out CPD and ensure that there is a spread over the GP curriculum over the five year cycle – which may involve making up a shortfall or gap in one year over the following years. Sometimes it is obvious that a major commitment, such as a postgraduate qualification, will take up almost all the CPD in one year, without demonstrating a spread over the GP curriculum or the whole scope of work. Often, in discussion with the appraiser, it is clear that there have been far more than 50 hours of CPD, but fewer than 50 credits are documented. Well trained and supported appraisers can help you to recognise and document your CPD appropriately. They can also help you to plan to ensure that your portfolio covers the GP curriculum over the five year cycle.
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