It is not difficult to earn points in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), no matter what your profession is. The challenge rather lies in buying into CPD and then understanding how the system works. Hereafter you must find and place your trust in a service provider.
Buying into CPD
Buying into the system of earning CPD points means that you support the principles underlying CPD – namely that you as a registered healthcare practitioner have a responsibility to continually update your professional knowledge and skills for the end benefit of the patient or client.
How many CPD points should be earned?
To this end the HPCSA has implemented a Continuing Professional Development programme. Every practitioner, depending on his / her profession is required to earn 30 or 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) per twelve-month period and 5 or 3 of the units must be on ethics, human rights, and medical law [see our website under the heading CPD, membership to identify how many CEU’s you need]. Each credit you earn equal a CPD point.
Each CEU will be valid for 24 months from the date on which the activity took place (or ended, in the event of post-graduate studies) after which it would lapse. This means that you should aim to accumulate a balance of 60 CEUs by the end of your second year of practise, and thereafter top-up the balance through additional CPD as each 24 –month validity period expires.
Choosing a provider
Now that you understand what CPD is and how many points or credits you require, you can start looking for a service provider.
To this end you can ask colleagues for their advice and search the Internet. Always remember that you can only earn CPD points if the activity falls within your scope of practice.
The following is a checklist you can use:
- Are activities accredited? This means that a 3rd party, normally a university of association had a look at the activity and has allocated an accreditation number and a specified number of CEU’s
- Do activities comply with CPD requirements? Content cannot be older than 5 years, there can only be one TRUE/FALSE question for every five questions, and each question must have at least three options with only one being correct
- Does the provider seem reputable? Look out for authoritative content on CPD, in other words does the provider organisation know what they are talking about
- Is the cost per activity of CPD point that you earn fair?
- Do the activities fall within your scope of practice?
- Is the mode of delivery effective?
- Does the online payment portal provide sufficient security for your credit card detail?
- Does the online system work seamlessly? Is it easy to access the content, and answer the questions?
- Can you redo an activity for free if you failed it?
- Are there real people behind the website and online portal? And do they know what they are talking about when it comes to earning CPD points?
- Is there a help line? Is this line there in theory only, or does someone actually answer when you call?
- Do you receive a certificate to prove that you have earned CPD points?
- What value-add’s do the provider offer when you earn your CPD points through them?
It is easier than you think to earn your CPD points, but spend some time in choosing your provider and you will never look back.