Demonstrating Professionalism through attitudes to Continuing Professional Development
Nick Jones, Registrar, reflects on the latest round of CPD.
Continuing development of skills and knowledge is a cornerstone of what it means to be part of a profession. Professionalism means interacting and communicating with others, displaying personal qualities such as honesty, empathy and compassion, and continually striving for personal and professional growth.
Our approach to ‘CPD’ has evolved over the years. It can sometimes seem like a blunt tool, but we try to make the submission of CPD evidence a punctuation point in your continuing voyage rather than a burden in and of itself.
I am grateful to the vast majority of registrants who embed their continuing professional development within their practice, diligently recording and reflecting upon their development for the year. I am particularly impressed and say well done to the 128 registrants who completed, and recorded, over 100 hours of learning this year.
I am also grateful to the majority of registrants for meeting the deadline – but observe most registrants leave it very late to submit their evidence.
Of course, we’ve all pushed deadlines. But this year I had the disappointing task of removing around 50 chiropractors from the register following their non-submission of CPD evidence for 2022-2023. Despite numerous reminders and warning emails, the hard deadline eventually comes.
Of course, among that number there are leavers choosing to retire from the profession or cease practice in the UK. Not completing CPD is unfortunately seen by some as the way to leave the register.
This saddens me – leaving the profession at the end of a long career in chiropractic is an important milestone, and I do not want to end our relationship with retiring registrants by sending “threatening” letters. Likewise, for registrants moving abroad to broaden their experience, these letters could leave a bad taste and dissuade them from returning to the UK in the future.
I have asked colleagues to look at how we can improve the retirement and leaving process and I want to consider what opportunities we may be able to offer to those who have retired but would still like some involvement in the profession. If you have thoughts on how to improve these processes, please get in touch.
This brings me to those who see deadlines as forever flexible. A minority - around 10% of registrants - missed the September 30 deadline and did not act until they received a letter threatening removal from the register.
Of those, around half were also late the previous year. And 20% have been late three years in a row. Most get it done…eventually, but take a disproportionate amount of time and resource for our small registration team – sending extra letters, chasing CPD details and answering panicked phone calls from registrants who have ignored earlier 'softer' emails.
As we enter the retention period for 2024, I am proud to say that the GCC has never increased the registration fee – we work within our means, keeping our costs down and our processes as efficient as we can. However, there is only so much we can do without your support.
If you are late recording CPD, you can expect us to be tougher next year, as it is not fair on the majority of registrants, or on our staff. There is more support we want to offer as a regulator – particularly in assisting newer registrants with their first round of CPD – but we will struggle while our resources are taken up with individuals who do not take their professional responsibilities seriously enough.
This brings me to the current round of CPD. For 2024 I expect all CPD to be completed, and submitted by 31 August 2024.
It seems to me that the easiest way to do meet the CPD target – and to ensure a higher quality of reflection on learning – is to log activities throughout the year, rather than saving them up for logging close to deadline day. The average time between completing a piece of learning, and it being logged on the portal, was 128 days. This does not seem to offer the best opportunity to remember what the learning was and reflect on the benefits.
I am also anxious about the quality of answers to the mandatory reflection questions of some submissions. We asked:
“How well do you feel your current knowledge and practices in relation to consent address your patients’ rights and best interests?”
I wonder why the 15 registrants who answered “adequate” (or a similar single word answer) believe that this is an appropriately in-depth response that critically considers and reflects upon their current knowledge and practice?
As in previous years the Royal College of Chiropractors will review submissions, highlighting to us inadequate responses. Those registrants will be asked to reconsider their response – and to do so in the light of their being significant outliers from their peers.
As I say at the start of this blog, the ability to critically consider and reflect upon current knowledge and practice is an important part of the professional development and growth of each health care professional – and I think it is appropriate to push for high standards across the whole of the profession.