In 2002, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) made continuing professional development (CPD) a mandatory requirement for all registered healthcare practitioners. However, the latest (2017/2018) HPCSA report states that there is still a generally low level of compliance to CPD requirements by emergency medical care practitioners (EMCPs) nationwide.
This was a descriptive study that made use of a questionnaire survey administered to 261 EMCPs.
Of the 261 questionnaires that were distributed, 247 were returned, giving a response rate of 94.6%. More than half (50.6%) of the EMCPs indicated that they lack knowledge on the HPCSA-recommended CPD requirements for EMCPs, and 54% stated that they do not have CPD portfolios. EMCPs listed the factors that hinder attendance of CPD activities: lack of information about the CPD activities (72.7%); cost of attending CPD events (70.6%); limited availability of CPD activities (70.6%); transportation problems (68.5%); timing of CPD activities (68.2%); difficulty in getting nominated to attend CPD activities (65.5%); and lack of personal funds (65.1%). Furthermore, EMCPs indicated that lack of internet access (45.5%) and poor knowledge of how to use the internet (15.2%) hinder them from accessing the internet for professional learning.
To provide the best care to patients, healthcare professionals must commit to lifelong learning. Participating in CPD activities has been endorsed as a means for maintaining and updating professional competence. Identifying and alleviating barriers that limit engagement in CPD activities will ensure that EMCPs attain the required professional competence.
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