Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is defined by the United Kingdom (UK) Health Professions Council (HPC) as:
“…a range of learning activities through which professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practise safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice.”
Suggested key precepts of CPD are that the individual learner is responsible for their own learning and development; it is based upon and feeds back into practice; employers need to create optimal environments for CPD; and learning and development can be derived from an extremely wide and diverse range of both formal and informal activities.
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) must embrace the multitude of activities which contribute to a professional’s development. Any activity which follows an outcome based approach to learning, where the individual has reflected on practice and set about identifying an appropriate activity to develop, can be defined as CPD. This implies a move beyond the spoon-feeding culture of training to an educational approach of selfdirected learning and requires an attitude change within the ambulance profession.
The outcome of good CPD should be practitioners with increased competence and improved patient care. This is why demonstrating participation in appropriate CPD activities is important for registration and in satisfying the requirements of professional bodies. To meet these requirements the individual needs to keep an accurate record of their CPD.
CPD is an ongoing process of development. The challenge for the individual is to develop the intrinsic motivation required to assess their learning needs, and respond accordingly. The challenge for ambulance managers is to facilitate opportunities for CPD. Fundamentally CPD in ambulance services is about producing improved, competent practitioners to benefit patient care. This is achieved by the practitioner assessing where they are now, following a path to improvement, and recording what has been done.