December 9, 2022

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) & Care: Definition, Importance and Benefits

Table of contents

This article will cover the definition of Continous Professional Development, its importance, and the many benefits it has. 

CPD stands for ‘Continuing Professional Development, and it describes a holistic approach used by healthcare professionals, toward the development and improvement of their skills. 

The Department of Health states; “In the NHS, CPD is determined through appraisals with personal development plans agreed between individuals and their managers. A key development in ensuring that healthcare professionals maintain their competence is the move among regulatory bodies to develop CPD strategies for the revalidation/re-certification of their members.”

CPD encourages healthcare providers to learn something new, refresh existing knowledge, and overall, focus on a commitment to lifelong learning. It’s an empowering process, and it allows individuals to focus on how they can become more competent and effective within their roles.  

In practice, CPD can look like anything that encourages learning. It could mean taking a training course, attending an educational event, studying new qualifications or learning new aspects of a job. 

What are the benefits of professional development for healthcare providers?

There are many benefits of professional development for healthcare providers. We’ve listed just a few of them here: 

  • Developing Pre-Existing Skills and Knowledge. 

Being able to build upon existing knowledge allows you to be able to provide the highest level of quality care to your clients and patients. Training and learning can increase confidence and overall capability, and also compliments career aspirations. There are plenty of formal courses out there to be able to do this, with many courses ranging from either theory or hands-on practice. The official CPD website is filled with different courses and workshops, but there are plenty more online. We’ve listed this particular one here, which is a course on Person-Centred care. We’ve also written a blog post about it here, for you to read more!

  • Keeping Up To Date With Industry Trends and Updates

It’s always important to know what’s happening within the industry, and a key advantage here is to be able to observe industry updates and best practices that you may not necessarily have the time to research otherwise. Although this isn’t formally recognised as ‘skill-building’, it’s a great opportunity to launch into developing one's knowledge of what’s new within the homecare sector. 

  • Progression In Your Current Role

As mentioned above, being able to develop existing skills and knowledge further, whilst keeping up to date with the changes in the industry makes you a valuable asset. With the continuous changes within the homecare sector, expectations for staff to be up-to-date with new trends have increased. Being able to keep up with changes can make you a multi-skilled candidate. 

  • Shows A Commitment to Self-Development

CPD allows you to commit to self-development and professionalism. Being able to identify and resolve knowledge gaps will lead to improvement and the ability to feel more confident in your capabilities. 

How can you support professional development in health and social care?

Although Continuous Professional Development is a great way to enhance one's career, there are some roadblocks that can surface. Individuals may have a lack of time, and may not have the capacity to add skill-building into the day because of the number of tasks one has to complete. Other roadblocks could look like a shortage of staff, a lack of funding or a lack of resources. These will contribute to making CPD harder to build into fruition within an organisation. 

Within each setting, CPD therefore may look slightly different. It may be a requirement in some organisations that are supported by a local body, or your organisation may briefly touch upon the topic, with little further action beyond mandatory training. 

Setting goals within one's career has been linked to increased task performance, persistence and motivation, compared to vague or easy goals. If your particular agency doesn’t have the resources to provide a CPD plan, it’s a great idea for you to create your own personal plan to help you achieve your goals. 

Whether you agree on the plan with your manager or manage yourself within a care role, a personal development plan can help outline the goals you want to achieve. It can also serve as a form of accountability, to ensure you stay on track to reach your goals. 

Why is professional development important in health and social care?

This may be the most important time for professional development in the homecare sector. As the homecare sector specifically focuses on being able to provide high-quality care to those in need, the services directly impact the well-being of the public. It can provide reassurance to know that those who are caring for them are dedicated to their duty of care. Being able to invest and encourage professional development benefits not only the employees themselves but those in their care, and the wider organisation as a whole. 

For any homecare agency, providing employees with career progression and showing empathy for employees' need for learning and developing skills can also improve recruitment and retention. Where development is encouraged, a more stable organisation can be created with increased morale from employees. 

Although we’ve covered the basics of CPD, you’ll find more information on their website. Improving one's own knowledge and skills should always be encouraged and it’s worth noting that it’s something that can always be accomplished outside of CPD! 

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