‘We are writing to inform you that you have been randomly selected for audit of your continuing professional development (CPD)’
It would be great if I could write that receiving this letter from the HCPC, a week after successfully renewing on-line, filled me with pleasure that I could display all the knowledge and learning I had gained and put into practice over the last two years. It’s fair to say that would not quite be accurate. Having started a new job five days previously, and continuing as Chair of Council until mid-April my main thought was that they obviously had no idea how much I had to do! And, of course, everyone I told seemed to collapse into giggles, which was not really the sympathetic response I was looking for.
However, I pulled myself together, realising that with all the opportunities I had experienced in the last two years, this was in fact the ideal time for me to be chosen. I also decided to go public, initially sharing on twitter, and then agreeing to blog about the experience.
With the letter was an explanatory leaflet with lots of useful information about how to comply with the standards, and where to find more help. I found the examples on the HCPC website and articles on the CSP website and in Frontline particularly helpful.
The first requirement is a dated list of all CPD activities within the last two years. I keep a diary of mine, so that was straightforward. The issue was more about the quantity. I consider everything I do is a learning opportunity, and there was a serious danger I was just going to transpose my whole calendar into the list. Then I read it said to explain any gaps over three months, laughed at myself, and decided I needed to rationalise. I put a summary of activities I carry out weekly and monthly at the top to avoid repetition but, even so, I came up with seven pages of dated CPD activity. You need to include different types of activity, relevant to your role(s) and future career aspirations, but I’m sure you don’t need as much as I included. You are allowed to submit anonymously, but I really couldn’t see how that was going to be possible. I did remove any patient or staff identification details.
Next is a statement describing some examples in more detail that evidence the activity has taken place, how it is relevant to your learning needs and how it has benefited your stakeholders (e.g. patients, staff I manage, CSP members). I included a couple of blogs I’d written as Chair where I’d reflected on activities and visits I’d learnt from and described what I’d done as a result. I chose a report I’d written for our Trust board about AHPs into Action, and a case I’d made to increase funding for a post where I used evidence gained from CSP briefings and PhysioWorks tools. Finally, I talked about some of the activities I’d undertaken to prepare for my new job.
Now I could have kept refining and improving this statement and my examples for days. Whenever I’ve spoken to CPD assessors, they always say that the vast majority of selected registrants submit far too much. The reality is you are not going to get a grade, and the worst thing that can happen is they ask you to provide more evidence about a certain activity. So at that point, I took the plunge, attached it all to an e-mail, checked the size didn’t exceed their maximum, and pressed send. I got a standard response saying it could take five days for them to respond, and then another acknowledging receipt and advising it can take up to 12 weeks to assess your profile. At which point I had another minor panic that I hadn’t submitted enough to warrant 12 weeks scrutiny! I will let you all know….
The most helpful resource was the iCSP discussion with fellow selectees. So thank you all (and Gwyn Owen) for sharing, supporting and reassuring. I really have nothing to complain about as some people have been chosen twice, and actually, now it’s done I did quite enjoy it. It was satisfying to take time to reflect on all I have learnt over the last two years, especially as I come to the end of my term of office as Chair and start a new job. That doesn’t mean I want to be selected again in 2020 though!
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