CPD demystified

Finding CPD activities is not normally a challenge for me, as I love gaining new knowledge. For some though, keeping up with CPD can be an arduous task, and for those with dual registration, there can be confusion around how to meet CPD requirements for both. I hope to clarify this here.

What is continuing professional development (CPD)?

CPD is a key component of contemporary nursing and midwifery practice, not just because it is a mandated requirement for registration (see Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia (NMBA) Registration standard: Continuing professional development). Investing in CPD serves multiple functions, including, but not limited to, maintaining and advancing competence with clinical skills; staying abreast of the latest evidence informed practice; discovering innovative care practices; understanding one’s own scope of practice, strengths and limitations; and, questioning the quality of care practices that may be accepted as routine.

Ultimately, and most importantly for nurses and midwives, investing in CPD ensures healthcare consumers are the recipients of high quality, safe and competent care that supports optimal outcomes for their health and wellbeing.

Dual registrations and CPD

Those that hold registration as both a nurse and midwife are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPD, per renewal period, for each registration. While nursing and midwifery are separate professions, the NMBA recognises there is shared practice that is common to nursing and midwifery. Therefore, if a CPD activity can be shown to be relevant to both nursing and midwifery practice and your context of practice it may be counted as evidence for both nursing and midwifery CPD hours. The key being that the CPD undertaken is relevant to your context and scope of practice for each registration that you hold.

Demonstrating relevance to your nursing and/or midwifery practice

The CPD process should ideally start with reflection. This can be informal and self-directed, or through formal processes such as a performance development review or (reflective) clinical supervision.

Reflective processes should identify one’s context and scope of practice, and strengths, learning needs and new areas of interest. By defining your context and scope of practice you can identify how you utilise each of your registrations in your nursing and/or midwifery roles. CPD goals can then be set for the coming renewal period, for each registration you hold and areas of shared practice, if any, identified.

CPD activities can then be selected to meet these goals, giving CPD purpose and relevance to each individual, their scope of practice, learning needs and career aspirations.

Once CPD activities have been undertaken, a reflection should be completed outlining what was learnt, how nursing and/or midwifery practice has been influenced, and if goals were achieved or further CPD is required.

There are many templates available to support nurses and midwives to undertake this process, including one provided by the ANMF which can be found at https://anmf.org.au/cpe. This documentation forms part of the evidence demonstrating your compliance with CPD requirements and is best done as CPD activities are undertaken.

Further information about CPD requirements can also be found on the NMBA website at https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards/Continuing-professional-development.aspx

I encourage you to see CPD as an opportunity, not just a tick-a-box for your registration. By investing in the CPD process as described above, and setting out to learn and develop in an area that is meaningful to you and your work, nursing and midwifery professions will continue to keep giving back to you as they have done for me.

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