Why is CPD important in nursing?

Keeping up with training helps nurses deliver the best care to patients

Why is CPD important in nursing?

Continuing professional development (CPD) has always been important in nursing.

It helps nurses and midwives keep up-to-date with their training so they can deliver the best care to patients. It also lets their colleagues and managers know how they're doing and if they need any support to maintain safe and effective practice.  

While CPD has always been an important part of nursing, it plays an even bigger role now revalidation is in place. In October 2015, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched revalidation to replace the old PREP (post-registration education and practice) system. The basic principles are the same – both systems require all nurses to complete 35 hours of CPD – but under revalidation, 20 of these hours need to be participatory learning. 

Participatory learning  

Best practices in healthcare are always evolving. There's always more to learn, so nurses and midwives need to develop their skillset to make sure they’re delivering the best care possible. People tend to learn better when they take an active role in their own development – which is where participatory learning comes in.  

Participatory learning is defined by the NMC as 'any learning activity in which you personally interact with other people.' This can include attending a conference, taking part in a workshop or working in groups. The group doesn't have to be in the same room – participatory learning can take place in a virtual group, such as an online discussion forum.  

There aren't any strict guidelines around what this participatory learning can be, but it has to be 'directly related' to nursing practice. Things like health and safety or IT training don’t count, but note-taking and safeguarding training do.  

Non-participatory learning  

The other 15 hours of CPD can be any other type of learning that takes place alone – like reading, elearning or reviewing publications.  

CPD is a really important part of nursing – so it has to be recorded properly. All nurses need to keep evidence of their CPD activities to show to their confirmer for revalidation. CPD records must include:  

  • Details of the activity 
  • How it relates to nursing practice 
  • When the activity took place 
  • The number of participatory and non-participatory hours 
  • How the activity relates to the Code
  • Evidence of the activity (like a certificate or recording) 

This is a lot of information to record for 35 hours of CPD activity per nurse, so using an online portfolio to record CPD is a good idea. With OneFile's CPD tracker, nurses and midwives can build a living portfolio to prove their CPD activities. Nurses can take photos, videos or audio recordings using any device and upload them to their CPD account wherever they are. It means recording compliant CPD evidence is quick and easy. 

To find out how OneFile works and how it can be used to record different CPD activities, download our free guide 

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.