Developing professionally is a key part of any physiotherapist’s career and even a mandatory requirement from the HCPC.
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Throughout your career, it is important that you carry on developing your skills and build your experience. You will have already started doing it through placements during your study years but this doesn’t stop here! Developing professionally is a key part of any physiotherapist’s career and even a mandatory requirement from the HCPC as you will need to confirm that you continue to meet their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) standard on a regular basis.
CPD is the process by which professionals maintain and develop their skills, knowledge and competence in order to practice safely and effectively and it can be done in a number of ways.
One great way of developing professionally is to get involved with networks. They bring together professionals with a common interest or in a similar location, organise events at a local or regional level, can sometimes meet physically or virtually and are great way to be exposed to people at difference stages of their careers. As well as joining you could get involved with them, helping on a voluntary basis. This can expand your network and bring you some invaluable soft skills such as communication or leadership among others.
The CSP has several networks run by a mix of CSP employees and members.
The CSP Regional Networks and Country Boards
Link up with your local CSP Regional Network or Country Board to benefit from regional events, networking and CPD. Each network has an online presence on Twitter (with some hosting Facebook profile or groups too). They typically host several online and face-to-face events each year focusing on key professional strategic priorities such as Community Rehabilitation and First Contact Physiotherapy. Many of their events provide CPD on aspects of leadership skills too.
The CSP Regional Networks also welcome new members to the core team of volunteers who help shape the events and activities – this offers a great opportunity to network locally with fellow members who are all at different stages in their career and work across multiple specialities.
interactiveCSP (iCSP) networks
Access resources, support and guidance from the CSP and its members by joining a number of iCSP networks on particular topics or areas particular interest to you. You can also pose questions to the network community and direct message members. There are over 60 networks available including the Influencers Network, Community Rehabilitation Network, First Contact Physiotherapy (FCP) Network and a Newly-qualified Network for recently graduated physiotherapists like you!
CSP Professional Networks
There are approximately 30 recognised professional networks that represent physiotherapist working within particular specialist areas of the profession, whether it be clinical, occupational or specific interest related. They sometimes include reduced or free membership for students, associate members and newly graduated physios as well as reduced or free entry to courses, workshops and conferences. Joining a professional network is a fantastic way of gaining CPD, peer-to-peer support and networking within your local region with other colleagues.
View the complete list of groups and their areas of interest with contact details on our Professional Networks page.
The CSP has three diversity networks – BAME, DisAbility and LGBTQIA+ and they are open to any CSP member who identifies as belonging to one or more of these networks. They are a welcoming and safe space with membership being confidential.
The CSP runs an annual conference called Physiotherapy UK which offers lots of opportunities to network, broaden your knowledge and share research.
Watch a recorded webinar on using your CSP ePortfolio to support and track your journey into physiotherapy.
The CSP offers two useful tools members can use to track and record their learning, helping you to develop as well as meet the graduate attributes of the CSP Physiotherapy Framework.
The CSP Physiotherapy Framework is a resource designed to promote and develop physiotherapy practice. A workbook sits alongside the framework and enables you to track the development of your physiotherapy practice by helping you describe, evaluate and evidence the values, behaviours, knowledge & skills you use in your day-to-day physiotherapy practice.
You can get more information on the CSP Learning Hub, which will introduce you to the framework and the set of CPD tools.
The ePortfolio enables members to create and manage a digital portfolio of work, reflections and achievements online. Members can also share elements of their portfolio and interact with others online.
The CSP's magazine Frontline contains great articles and features every month. All of them are useful for developing your knowledge and understanding to help you develop as a physiotherapist and appreciate your place within the profession. There have been many articles written for new graduates over the years so make sure you check out the archive, not just the current edition. And even if it isn’t written directly for you as a new graduate, that doesn’t it isn’t relevant! To help you get started we’ve drawn together some articles you’ll find useful:
- Looking beyond the label- This article is for helping you to define, frame and develop your practice to find the job you want.
- CPD into action: lifelong learning - Some advice for those at the start of their physiotherapy career on laying the foundations for continuous professional development.
- CPD into action - Advice and resources to help you complete your CPD cycle.
- CPD: planning your professional development - CSP professional adviser, Nina Paterson presents some practical guidance to help plan and manage your CPD activity and the HCPC audit.
- HCPC audit: are you ready? This article provides information on the HCPC audit. Although as a new grad you won’t be called within your first two years, it is good to keep the audit in mind and the need to maintain an up-to-date record of your CPD. This article also touches on the HCPC’s standards for CPD for all registrants.
- Using your transferable skills - Hear from a newly graduated physio about what transferable skills physiotherapy training and practice can offer.
- CPD Practice: your physiotherapy career part 2 - CSP professional advisor, Nina Paterson pens this piece specifically for newly graduated physios on taking the first steps in your career.
- CPD mentoring: It’s all about you - This article explores the benefits of being mentored and what to expect.
Another way of gaining experience and developing your skills could be done through volunteering, in the UK or abroad, or shadowing current physiotherapists in their workplace. Do you have any contacts with past placements? Maybe you could contact them to see if you can visit, volunteer or shadow?
Volunteering can help you gain broader knowledge and skills, both clinical and non-clinical, showcase your knowledge and simultaneously raise your public profile. It is also a great way to give back to your local community and the wider society.
In the past, organisations like St John Ambulance in England have opened up specific volunteering posts to physiotherapists.
Whether you decide to volunteer in the UK or abroad, do not forget to make sure you have appropriate professional liability indemnity.
The eMentoring platform is designed to enable CSP members to find a mentor who can support their career and continuing professional development needs, by sharing their knowledge and expertise. A mentor's role is to champion and support your development by being a role model who can help guide and counsel you through your career.
The platform enables members to search for a mentor based on their skills, area of expertise/ experience and sector.
The Leadership Development Programme (LDP) is a 30-credit master's module available to UK physiotherapists with at least two years' experience as a qualified member. Its aim is to develop leadership capacity within the physiotherapy profession by equipping participants with effective leadership skills and behaviours and prepare them to influence, change and improve healthcare for their patients.
The programme is a two-semester online module run separately by the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Central Lancashire. 48 places are funded by the CSP every year for members who meet the funding criteria. 10 of the 48 funded places are prioritised for those who identify as BAME.
The CSP is the trade union body representing people delivering physiotherapy services. This means that, if there is a problem or issue in the workplace, CSP stewards and safety reps can offer advice, support and representation on any matter related to your employment.
Trade union membership gives you a voice at work, and protection when you face issues affecting your pay, your employment contract, disciplinaries, injury or ill health. Where necessary, they can negotiate with your employer on your behalf.
The CSP also proudly represents its members on the national stage, negotiating for improvements in pay and workplace standards. As well as being supported by the trade union, there is an opportunity for you to take an active role in representing physiotherapists in the world of work you can become a rep, steward, or a workplace contact, offering you the chance to develop your soft skills.
Stewards strive to improve the working conditions of all members, both locally and nationally and are supported by staff from Employment Relations & Union Services (ERUS) and CSP safety reps.
Safety reps advise and represent members on all matters relating to their health, safety and welfare at work. They also make sure your employer fulfils their legal obligations towards their employees and to assist members in getting their health and safety problems resolved. For more about CSP safety reps visit www.csp.org.uk/safetyreps.
Interested in continuing your studies? Use our quick reference list to browse postqualifying programmes relevant to physiotherapy that have a CSP accreditation.