Who we are
- RCVS Council
- VN Council
- Operational Board
- Committees, subcommittees and groups
- Senior staff
- Work for us
How we work
- The role of the RCVS
- Royal Charter and legislation
- Honours & awards
- Our Service Promise
- Video Guides
News & views
- Events and meetings
- Our consultations
- Webinars and podcasts
- Contact the press office
- Applications - Veterinary surgeons
- Applications - Veterinary nurses
- Applications - Veterinary premises
- Check our Registers
- Maintaining and amending your registration
- Working abroad
- Professional Development Phase (PDP)
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
- Postgraduate qualifications
- Professional accreditation
- RCVS Fellowship
- Fellows' profiles
- Fellowship Day
- Fellows in Focus
- Mission Rabies
- The health of corals, and their importance for society
- All structures great and small: is the profession coping with the rapid changes in the veterinary sector?
- Do badgers kill cows or cows kill badgers?
- A personal perspective of the medical-veterinary relationship
- General practice is the most important veterinary specialism
- Causes and cures for cataracts
- RCVS Leadership Initiative
- Practice Standards Scheme
- An overview of the Practice Standards Scheme
- Who runs the Scheme?
- Apply for accreditation
- Apply for awards
- Stanley Video Guides
- Promoting your accredited practice
- PSS Communications Toolkit
- Advice & guidance
- Accrediting primary qualifications
- Riding Establishments
- Practice Standards Scheme
- Veterinary professionals: how to raise a concern
- I want to raise a concern about a veterinary surgeon
- I want to raise a concern about a registered veterinary nurse
- Confidential Reporting Line
- Animal owners: how to raise a concern
- A concern has been raised about me
- Disciplinary Committee hearings
- Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS)
- Veterinary professionals: how to raise a concern
What is the Professional Development Phase?
The PDP is a self-assessment system that aims to instil a conscious and conscientious approach to professional learning. It provides a structure for new and recent graduates including overseas graduates (and for others returning to practice after a break), to reflect on their progress in developing their confidence and competence across a number of clinical areas, measured against the general RCVS Professional Development Phase (PDP) Competences.
The PDP provides a logical link between undergraduate and postgraduate development. The veterinary degree equips graduates with the essential Day One Competences needed for safe practice immediately on graduation, but these are only a starting point. Professional competence needs to be further developed in a structured manner during the first year or so in clinical practice*, until a recently qualified vet can perform confidently as a fully-effective professional in the work place. The PDP is the first step in the recent graduate’s continuing professional development (CPD).
To complete the PDP, new and recent graduates must keep a brief, accurate and honest record of their clinical cases against a list of clinical skills and procedures, and must reflect on how they are progressing in meeting the PDP Competences. They should use the PDP component of the Professional Development Record to record their progress in achieving the PDP Competences. The CPD component of the Professional Development Record can also be used alongside PDP to record participation in other CPD activities, such as attendance on courses.
* For the purpose of PDP, ‘clinical practice’ means offering clinical services direct to the public or to other veterinary surgeons. For reference, see definition in the Code of Conduct at paragraph 3.2.
All newly qualified graduates and those with less than one year’s clinical experience are required to complete the PDP, regardless of where they qualified in the UK or overseas. Anyone who is returning to work after a career-break is also encouraged to use the system until they feel they have adequately refreshed their skills.
The Professional Development Record (PDR) is a lifelong learning record, made up of the Student Experience Log (SEL), Professional Development Phase (PDP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) components.
If you have been using the SEL at university, you will need to email email@example.com with your details. Once your PDP account is activated you can use the same log in details for the PDR (PDP and CPD) as the SEL.
If you have not been using the SEL at university, to register for the PDP component, you will first need to register for the PDR. If you follow this link www.rcvs-pdr.org.uk, click on the tab ‘register for PDR’, enter the required details then follow the onscreen instructions.
Once this is done, you will need to apply to be activated. Please do this by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org stating:
- your full name,
- RCVS reference number,
- where and when you graduated,
- an address for correspondence about your PDP,
- the name and address of your workplace/practice,
- the name and email address of the person who will be looking after your PDP.
Once you have been accepted for PDP, you will be allocated to a Postgraduate Dean and your PDP account will be activated by the RCVS. You will receive an email from the system confirming this.
The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct requires new and recent graduates to comply with RCVS PDP and CPD requirements. All practising veterinary surgeons are required to continue their professional development and maintain their competence in the area in which they are working. They must keep records of their development and provide these to the RCVS when required. We consider the PDP to be the most appropriate form of continuing professional development for the initial period of clinical practice.
The Code also requires all veterinary surgeons to ensure that clinical governance forms part of their professional activities.
In order to undertake the PDP effectively, the graduate must engage in a process of reflection, analysis and improvement in their professional practice. This is echoed in the guidance on clinical governance that accompanies the Code of Professional Conduct. This goes on to state that:
“Clinical governance may include:
keeping up to date with continuing professional development (CPD) and new developments relevant to the area of work;
reflecting upon performance, preferably in the form of a learning diary, and making appropriate changes to practice;
reflecting upon any unexpected critical events and learning from the outcome and making appropriate changes to practice;
critically analysing the evidence base for procedures used and making appropriate changes to practice;
reflecting upon communication with other members of the work team and making appropriate changes to practice;
reflecting upon communication with clients and making appropriate changes to practice; and,
assessing professional competence in consultation with more experienced or better qualified colleagues and limiting your practice appropriately.”
All new graduate members of the RCVS and those with less than one year’s experience who are working in clinical practice in the UK should therefore take part in and complete their PDP. Those who are not working in clinical practice in the UK (see definition in footnote on page 3), but who are still on the register as UK practising members (eg those undertaking full-time research), are advised to follow a similar approach where appropriate, and to keep records of their professional development instead in the CPD component of the PDR. UK graduates who are working in clinical practice outside the UK may undertake the PDP if they wish, and if their employer is supportive.
Undertaking the PDP does not affect membership status. Graduates undertaking their PDP are legally qualified to practise as veterinary surgeons as they are full members of RCVS. It is, however, an acknowledgement of their relative inexperience and their need for support from more senior colleagues.
Anyone who has graduated since 2007 must complete their PDP if they want to enrol at a later stage on the RCVS Certificate and some other postgraduate certificate programmes. Having undertaken sufficient appropriate CPD has always been a requirement before entering for RCVS examinations, and completing the PDP helps to confirm that a Certificate candidate has had a broad grounding in clinical practice before they embark on a further qualification.
Overseas graduates may be required to complete the PDP depending on how much experience they have in clinical practice before they register with the RCVS.
- A newly-qualified graduate from an overseas university will need to complete the PDP in exactly the same way as a UK graduate.
- Those with less than one year’s clinical experience are also required to undertake and complete the PDP.
- Overseas graduates who register with the RCVS with between one and three year’s clinical experience will be asked to review their experience against the RCVS PDP Competences list and confirm that they have achieved these competences. If they are unable to confirm this, then they will be advised to undertake the PDP in order to ensure that any gaps in their experience are filled.
The PDP is run through a password-protected web-based recording system, the Professional Development Record (PDR), in which graduates keep a tally of their cases and notes under various clinical headings relating to either small animal, equine or farm animal practice (or a combination of the three). They must keep brief notes on their experience and on their general performance under each skill area, and may write up longer case reports and link these to the list of skills and procedures as evidence of their experience.
They are asked to rate their confidence against a number of headings, based on a four-point scale, ranging from ‘not confident’ to ‘totally confident’. When they have logged experience against each area and have rated themselves as confident overall, they can apply to complete their PDP. An application for ‘completion’ must be filled in by the graduate and countersigned by a more senior veterinary colleague who is familiar with their work. The RCVS appointed Postgraduate Dean will check the graduate’s PDP records online to check that there is sufficient evidence of experience across the clinical areas to warrant sign-off and completion. Those who have completed the PDP are issued with a certificate of completion by the RCVS.
Graduates can also keep a log of any additional CPD activities they undertake, and their general development plans, under the CPD component of the PDR.
It is the responsibility of new graduates to register with the RCVS to use the PDR for recording their PDP. They are given instructions on how to do this when they graduate and first register as members of the RCVS.
Guidance on CPD and instructions for registering to use the CPD component can be found on the RCVS website at www.rcvs.org.uk/cpd.