What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

The Health and Social Care Council define CPD as ‘the means by which health and social care professionals maintain and improve their knowledge, skills and competence, and develop professional qualities required throughout their professional life’ (CORU, 2013).

CPD is any activity that contributes to a professional’s learning and development. It can be as diverse as completing a course, reflecting on work practices through supervision or researching a new technique or reading a related article. The activity (i.e. action) can be viewed as CPD, as long as it enables the Social Care Worker to apply this learning through reflection or practical application in their professional life.

CPD is a cyclical process through which you:

  • Review your CPD needs
  • Plan how to meet these needs
  • Implement this plan or take action to meet these needs
  • Reflect on this learning and demonstrate how these new skills/learning has affected your work practice

CPD includes the activities that develop the knowledge, skills and competencies for Social Care practice in relation to work with individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities, and it also includes knowledge, and skills required for areas such as policy development, management, research, education, and the promotion of the social care profession.

Learning can also be unplanned or ‘on the job’ learning and this too can be considered part of Continuing Professional Development.

Social Care Workers are well placed to demonstrate engagement in CPD, in comparison with many other professions. The nature of our work often means that we work as part of teams or with colleagues where there are opportunities for learning, to attend training, to attend multidisciplinary meetings, participate in supervision and use reflective practice to learn from the various opportunities and challenges we are faced within our professional lives.

Why Engage in CPD?

Social Care Ireland recognises the benefits of Social Care Workers engaging in a range of CPD activities. It ensures a practitioner is up to date with new, innovative tools and enhances their professional skills and competencies. CPD helps to enhance confidence in practice as well as providing opportunities for career development. For service users, the benefits of CPD will include quality provision of a high standard of care leading to improved outcomes. The organisation or service also benefits as CPD enhances the effective delivery of services that are responsive to meet changing needs of service users. Regular CPD engagement is a mark of a professional practitioner and will increase recognition of Social Care as a profession.

CORU Guide to CPD is available here.

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