What does CPD mean to you?

A little while ago I asked friends and colleagues what is important to them when choosing a CPD course. As you can imagine in asking friends there were some ‘comedy’ answers in amongst the reality, however, even in the comedy there was some truth.

From those I asked I had a range of healthcare professionals respond including:

Midwives

Nurses

Paramedic Managers

Healthcare Educators

Doulas

I do believe that it is human nature to want something for free. Health Care Professionals (HCPs) are notorious for collecting free pens!! I am yet to meet one who isn’t pleased by a free pen (me included) and if there is more than one up for grabs that is a bonus!! In practice pens do not last long so multiples are a welcome commodity!!

During the study day I organised the charities who were speakers on the day were kind enough to satisfy the craving for pens while I supplied a ready supply of sweeties (nearly as important as pens) – those sweeties you ate as a child are always a winner!!

The other ‘tongue in cheek’ answer came in the shape of food!! I genuinely believe that it is underestimated just how mentally tiring study days can be. Subjects which are perhaps ‘heavy’ in their nature are while incredibly useful are draining, even the lighter subjects with your full concentration make for a mentally draining day. For this reason I do actually think it is more important that just a flippant answer. Again in the venue I used for my study day there was no facility for catering and I ordered in catering, it was spectacular! But it doesn’t have to be provided in my opinion as long as there is access to good quality ‘fuel’.

Well fuelled (and hydrated) learners will gain a better quality of retention from the day itself.

Before I move on to the more nitty gritty answers I just want to take a brief moment to consider how these points translate to ‘online learning’.

You don’t get freebies, certainly not the all important pen – or do you? No, mostly the pen does not transpire, however many of the courses I have completed online as a learner come with a support network that can not be rivalled.

Social media now offers the amazing platform of support groups where you can bounce queries and experiences off each other, share positives, new ideas AND worries or concerns. This support least way beyond the completion of your CPD course. So, while no free pens are to be had free support networks can last much longer!

Food obviously cant be provided BUT you will be in the comfort of your own home. I am a tea fiend and as a result being close to my kettle is always a winner!!

Moving on to the ‘nitty gritty’:

Below are some of the quotes I received:

When the CPD immediately impacts your practice, so you use the new knowledge to improve what you do for ptns

Being able to use what I learn in practice”

(I remember a two significant turning points in my Midwifery career, lightbulb moments if you like. These turning points drastically changed my practice IMMEDIATELY and gave me more confidence in my own abilities and practice. There have been more, of course there have as I believe that your practice should be constantly evolving for the better. If you have just one lightbulb moment in your career as a result of CPD it was worth attending!!)

When CPD includes the opportunity to share experiences with your peers”

(Absolutely, when you have the passion to go to your peers with what you have learned and share this with them – that is the sign of good CPD)

“When CPD creates more curiosity and leads to further learning”

(This sits very close to my heart. I have attended many many CPD learning days as a learner and some were good but forgettable. I honestly can not say that I can take points from every session and tell you how it changed my practice. Two in particular did. One randomly by Dogs Trust which led to a more enlightened approach to my practice and led to months of research on the wider subject and the impact on my field, the other a talk by the renowned speaker Mark Williams. Mark Williams is a speaker on Fathers Mental Health, this is something in business I had already began to address, however was aware of the huge void of awareness in care of fathers during pregnancy and the postnatal period in the wider health community – I came away truly inspired.

I am not saying that I haven’t leaned and benefit from other courses I have done but these are two which resonated with my most, perhaps because they are ‘little spoken’ subjects for study days.

“Interesting Speakers”

“Various Subjects”

“Relevant subjects”

(So true! In reality not everyone is going to have the same passion and interest in the same subjects, but what this means is that the offering of a variety of subjects is important to capture as many people as possible. I am quite a reserved person {although outwardly perhaps not} and fear peoples views of what I offer, not because I seek validation but because I seek to offer something different. Sometimes the need to be brave and jump in with a new subject is what is needed and is what will catch the interest of people who want to go on and learn more after my CPD days and  online training courses – if I spark a passion to learn more from interesting and varied speakers I have done my job)

“Practical Sessions”

(Often so difficult to achieve in CPD but so incredibly worthwhile. I think we can mostly agree that practical sessions are usually a standard part of mandatory training using skill stations and for wider CPD they are often more difficult to come by. Shortly after leaving the NHS I attended a study day with some of my old colleagues by a charity called Beyond Bea, this was very practical and hands on. By being hands on it brought home the point that speakers were trying to make. The importance of their message was put in to practice by you on the day and I genuinely came out of that day exhausted but enlightened. The study day arranged by myself also had practical elements in the afternoon – usually a time folk doze off after a good feed. Learners were not disengaged as they often are after lunch but took the time to practice the skills and the importance of them as they were shown. The course I developed and ran for an external organisation was full of practical, without it the theory would simply have meant nothing)

CPD means so many different things to different people – what does it mean to you?

#tinytoesandme #tinytoes #cpd #healthcare #healthprofessionals #midwives #nurses #paramedics #support

This was the principal photo in our last study day titled ‘The Unspoken’

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