Preparing your nursing CPD
By Dan Allard
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a mandatory task for all nurses. To make the most of it, we advise that you think about what you want to achieve in your career, and where your nursing specialities are.
You should think about the work that you currently do, as well as the areas of nursing that you may like to progress into. For example, if you are a band 5 nurse working in a rotational post, but have ambitions to move into a clinical specialism, then you could use your CPD to enhance your knowledge of this area and learn new skills. Similarly, if you have ambitions to move into a team leader or senior management role, then your learning should be based around these capabilities.
CPD should always be viewed as a long-term strategic way to enhance your practice and boost your employability. It shouldn’t be viewed as an administrative burden – instead, it should be used as an opportunity to gain new skills and learn from others.
We often recommend that our nursing community take the time to conduct personal SWOT assessments. If you know what your Strengths and Opportunities are, you can start to build a personal learning programme around your Weaknesses and Threats. It’s a highly efficient way of using your learning to improve your capabilities. What’s more, it’s also a valuable way of preparing for a nursing interview.
What activities can be counted towards my nursing CPD?
As a nurse, your 35 hours of CPD should be flexible. You may have attended a conference or training course, or you may have read or reviewed an article. You may even have participated in an online forum or webinar. CPD is about any form of learning which has allowed you to think about ways to continually improve your nursing practice.
It’s also about how you have helped others to improve their practice. For example, you may have acted as a mentor to a colleague in a lower band. Or you may have worked with colleagues to discuss new ways of practice.
The NMC has published a suggested guidance sheet that shows the breadth of activities that can be put towards your personal learning portfolio.
How to maintain your nursing CPD records
We advise you to maintain your learning portfolio as and when you complete applicable tasks.
The NMC suggests that you record your notes using the following headings:
What the CPD activity was
How it related to your practice
Relevancy to the nursing code of conduct
You may wish to use the NMC’s downloadable template to log your activity or you may wish to use an app on your phone/tablet or schedule a regular reminder to update your portfolio. A key element is ensuring that you can provide evidence of your learning. This may be through the form of a photo, a screenshot, or even a certificate of learning.
You must file your evidence and learning logs accurately so that when it comes to your revalidation, you have easy access to the past three years of learning activities.
We have written a selection of pieces around starting and navigating your nursing career. Alternatively, if you have any questions around your CPD, please get in touch with your Sanctuary consultant.