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CPD: Challenging Personal Development.

Clare Kell
Gwyneth Owen

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an expectation of practice for many professional groups and a requirement for license-retention among healthcare professionals. CPD has to be done.
     A new MSc Physiotherapy module entitled ‘Personal and Professional Development’ seeks to help participants go beyond seeing CPD as a hind-bound necessity. The module frames CPD as a stimulating, creative and rewarding activity that is central to clinical practice. Despite a clear module outline, over half the participants enrolled were seeking a formulaic approach to meeting their CPD obligations. What they experienced however was a journey of self-discovery.
     Using a framework grounded in reflective practice, this highly interactive module challenged participants to problematise professionalism and professional identity while exploring such concepts as personal learning characteristics, familiarity, action research and change management. Through negotiated assessments, participants were empowered to explore different forms of writing and presentation, so freeing and developing their ‘natural’ communication styles.
     The design, context and delivery of the module required individuals to identify and work with the self, making CPD personally meaningful and useful. This module was emotionally, physically and intellectually challenging for all participants and staff. By the end of the module, however, some participants described deep empowerment effects that have helped them look both critically and creatively at their profession and their current and future place within it.
     This paper will use case studies to describe the personal journeys of both staff and participants as we worked together to personalise and realise CPD in practice. While we would like to share the highs and lows of the module experience with delegates, we are also very aware that the professional working environment may, in some cases, hinder the participants’ implementation and development of their new learning. We would value the opportunity to discuss these issues with colleagues.

Author Bio(s)

Clare Kell and Gwyn Owen share a passion for supporting student learning development, engagement in professional socialization and continuing personal and professional development activities. They are Chartered Physiotherapists with many years’ experience working in Higher Education.