To get the most out of this process, you must begin with a list of goals – your Personal Plan, which contains both your Practice and Roles (P&R) and your Personal Learning Plan (PLP).
This will set out the agenda for your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the following year, so ideally, it should be prepared for your annual appraisal.
Your P&R should set out all your areas of clinical and non-clinical practice. It includes:
- practice / role
- dimension (clinical, professional or extended)
- host organisation
- dates commenced / ceased
Your PLP contains:
- what: what do I want to learn?
- why: what will the benefit and/or outcome of my learning be?
- how: what do I have to do? What support do I need?
- when: what is the timescale for achievement?
- review: have I achieved what I planned?
During appraisal, your previous Personal Plan should be reviewed – ideally, all areas of the P&R and PLP should have evidence of CPD. Following this, your new Personal Plan should be agreed between you and your appraiser.
Note: it is not mandatory that a learning event links to an existing item on your P&R or PLP. Events ‘additional to plan’ can be recorded, while new P&R or PLP items can be added to your ePortfolio at any time.
Covering your entire professional life – understanding CPD dimensions
The CPD dimensions describe the components of your professional identity, while allowing for the diverse range of practice in the wide variety of roles and environments in which specialists practise.
The three CPD dimensions are:
- Clinical dimension
- Professional dimension
- Extended Role dimension
The Professional dimension covers your wider professional skills and behaviours, and reflects the many generic clinical, non-clinical and non-technical attributes you need to provide high quality care to patients.
The Clinical dimension covers clinical knowledge and skills, and demonstrates that you are practising your current clinical work to a high standard while also encouraging your development.
The Extended Role dimension recognises that many specialists undertake wider roles beyond the professional and clinical skills required to practise.
Your CPD should reflect all three dimensions. Placing learning events in their proper dimension forms the basis for achieving the recommended credit requirements. You should aim to achieve a balance across the three dimensions over a Learning Cycle.
Learning events – and credits
In the new framework, we have identified three types of learning event:
Formal Learning Events (FLEs) are events with clear learning objectives or outcomes, such as courses, academic and scientific meetings, eLearning programmes, etc.
FLEs require evidence, such as a certificate of attendance or completion, to achieve credits. Additional credits can be gained through reflection and action logs.
Unlike FLEs, Experiential Learning Events (ELEs) aim to capture learning that occurs outside classroom environments, such as learning from cases or patient/peer feedback, discussion with peers, simulation-based learning, making presentations, examining, etc.
To achieve credits, a reflective log must be completed. Additional credits can be achieved by the completion of Action logs.
Specific Learning Events (SpLEs) are defined activities that have specific credit values. These include:
- Completion of TOG and BJOG articles including successful completion of questions
- Publishing – papers / books / chapters / review articles / original letter
- Developing eLearning materials
- Developing or revising Guidelines – local or national
- Developing or revising NICE Quality Standards
- Setting examination questions (e.g. MRCOG / EMQ / OSCE / SBA)
To achieve credits, evidence should be linked to the Learning Event Log to confirm the activity. Additional credits can be achieved by Reflection and/or Action Logs.
With the new CPD programme, there are many more learning events you can record and which can earn credits – and reflection/action logs can provide even more.
You should aim to achieve a balance across the CPD Dimensions, and each item in the Personal Plan should be evidenced by CPD activity – if an item has not been evidenced, then the reason for this would be discussed and documented during appraisal.
And you are expected to complete several full learning cycles (Planning/Learning Event/Reflection/Action) over a 5 year period (corresponding to the UK Revalidation cycle).
Credit requirements are recommended by the RCOG, but not mandated. It is the role of the appraiser to confirm that the CPD undertaken has been of appropriate quantity and quality.