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I’m retired/non-practising/on parental leave – do I need to do any CPD?
If you are a vet listed on the RCVS Register of Members as inactive and non-practising, then you are not expected to comply with the RCVS requirement of 105 hours of CPD over three years. The same applies if you are a VN who has voluntarily removed themselves from the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. However, if you plan to return to practise at some point in the future, you are strongly advised to keep up-to-date with the profession and your area of practice, as far as possible.
Keeping a record of CPD activities during any period away from practice will help you to plan and prepare for your return to work as a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse. Vets who return to work after a few years out of practice, can if they wish use the PDP section of the online Professional Development Record in order to benchmark and track ‘Year One competences’.
Workplace activities such as case conferences could also count as CPD activity if you systematically reflect on what you have learnt. Similarly, research and clinical audit activities can be recognised as adding to your professional development if you can account for how they have contributed to your own personal learning.
Private, documented, self-directed learning such as keeping up to date with relevant veterinary journals can be incorporated into your CPD plans and it is good practice to keep your own personal record of such activities, perhaps in the form of a learning diary. You can use the online PDR to keep such notes. When documenting your private study, you should record:
- the subject matter;
- the type of learning you have undertaken to improve your knowledge and/or skills;
- the resulting outcomes of your learning - for instance, a change to the way you undertake a procedure or approach a problem.
There are increasing opportunities to take part in online assessment, and other 'mediated' distance learning involving online tutors and learning groups. There is no restriction on the number of hours of online assessment or mediated distance learning that can count towards your CPD. You should keep notes of all such activities so you can account for what you have learnt.
You may choose to work towards a qualification, such as the European Diploma, modules of the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice, the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing or other university postgraduate certificates and degrees. Achieving such a qualification will provide ample evidence of engagement in CPD activities.
Use your CPD recordings to make a summarised note of any courses you attend, secondment experience, and time spent putting together your case logs/reports. If you are using the online Professional Development Record, you can enter more information about your studies, including your observations and reflections on what you have learnt; you can upload notes, reading plans or other documents; you can set yourself objectives in the development plan, and keep a note of planned CPD activities or goals in your personal CPD diary and check them off when you’ve achieved them. If you’re using the paper-based Record Card, keep a separate file for your more detailed notes of your learning.
Ultimately, the judgement of what should count as CPD will vary for each individual, and it’s therefore up to you to decide how best to fulfil your own learning needs. It’s your responsibility to keep a record of your learning plans and activities, and to keep documented evidence of participation in courses and other activities.
You should review your CPD needs regularly and plan ahead so that you can make the most of development opportunities as they arise. Planning ahead will also enable you to take part in more cost-effective and focused activities, rather than attending seminars or other events ad hoc, and then finding that they perhaps did not meet your needs.
If you take part in an appraisal process at work, this will help you to identify areas you need to concentrate on, and should also provide you with an auditable record of your agreed development plans and activities.
Remember that undertaking CPD is not just about attending courses - it's about continuing your professional learning in whatever way best helps you to maintain your competence and helps you to improve the professional service you provide.
If you are using the online Professional Development Record, you can use the “My Development Plan” section to set your objectives, define your criteria for measuring success, make notes on the actions you propose to take to meet your goals, and describe how you intend to implement your plans.
If you’re using the online Professional Development Record, you can enter your CPD activities in any order, and it will guide you to pick the types of activity from a pick list. You can then sort the columns however you wish, by activity type, by date, subject area, location, or hours spent. You can also see at a glance from your summary record if you have uploaded further files, or entered notes against each activity.
If you’re using the printed version of the CPD Record Card, follow the headings on the table to give brief descriptions of the CPD you have undertaken. Under the heading "Where undertaken/Provider name" indicate not only the location, but also the name of the CPD provider or institution involved. For the subject area, it may be helpful to group different activities together under subheadings, e.g. clinical, non-clinical, practice or other management development activities.
Time is considered to be the simplest way to record CPD activities. It’s not always easy to measure the time spent on development activities, but an estimate of time (in whole hours) should be shown in the ‘hours’ column. If you’re working towards an external qualification, or taking part in a nationally accredited distance learning programme that includes interaction with tutors and others, include the name of the qualification towards which you are working, and the name of any courses you attend. Attendance at a whole day conference or course would normally constitute seven claimable hours; an evening meeting would normally count for 1 - 2 hours – but it’s up to you to be able to justify the number of hours you are claiming.
If you are using the online Professional Development Record, there are sections for you to keep a more detailed reflective account of your development activities, as well as a structure for recording your plans. If you wish, you can upload electronic records of attendance, certificates, photos, and other notes.
If you are only using the printed version of the CPD Record Card, you should keep a separate personal file with any certificates of attendance, learning diaries, CPD plans, assessment results, or other documents that serve as evidence of your involvement in CPD. You may find it useful as part of planning your professional development to have a detailed account of your learning experiences for your own reference.
You don’t need to send in your CPD Record Card to us every year. Completed records may need to be submitted with applications for the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice, Diplomas and for Advanced Practitioner and Specialist status, and will be viewed during inspections for approval under the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme. We also inspect CPD records for all veterinary staff when it undertakes its statutory visits to the veterinary schools. We may at times undertake random sampling of CPD records in order to monitor CPD participation so you could therefore be invited to submit your CPD record at any time. Records may also be requested from members who are subject to investigation and disciplinary proceedings.
If you are using the online Professional Development Record, we will be able to view the “My CPD Record Summary” page which lists your CPD activities. We may use this in the future to monitor members’ CPD. However, we will not routinely be able to view the more detailed records and plans underlying this summary screen unless you have given permission through the system. You may occasionally be asked to give that permission, either as part of a random sampling exercise, or if you are subject to an investigation and disciplinary proceedings.