Guidance for completing a Continued Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio
As an Independent Registrant of the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS), you may be requested to provide a CPD portfolio for audit purposes, so it would be useful to start keeping a CPD diary and developing your portfolio as soon as you can. This doesn’t have to be too time-consuming and there are some parts of it which, once done, you don’t have to renew too often.
What does CPD mean?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It's a record of what you experience, learn and then apply. The term is generally used to mean a physical folder or portfolio documenting your development as a professional.
What is it for?
The CPD process helps you manage your own development on an ongoing basis. Its function is to help you record, review and reflect on what you learn. It's not a record of completed specific training such as using a PC application or becoming a surgeon. Development is more about giving you a range of tools to use to enable a progression from basic know-how to a more advanced and complex understanding of the subject.
The key features of the CPD process
Continuous Professional Development needs to:
• be a documented process
• be self-directed: driven by you, not your employer / governing body / Association
• focus on learning from experience, reflective learning and review
• help you set development goals and objectives
• should include both formal and informal learning.
What will it do for you?
A CPD portfolio is not a requirement of the Medical Artists’ Association of G.B. (MAA) membership: it is only required if you wish to maintain your AHCS registration. It can help you to reflect, review and record your learning and to develop and update your professional knowledge and skills.
It is also very useful to:
• provide an overview of your professional development to date
• act as a reminder of your achievements and how far you've progressed
• helps to set goals and aspirations for your career
• helps to keep you on track with your goals and career plans especially if you work alone
• can help to identify gaps in your skills and capabilities
• provides evidence for your CV, clients or interviews
• demonstrates your professional competency to clients and employers
How do I start?
The MAA website (www.maa.org.uk/cpd) has an excellent section for CPD which will enable you to keep a diary of quick accounts of any developments, training or even related articles of interest on the web. There is also a list of all categories of CPD activity to choose from. This will allow you to keep an up-to-date learning log of your thoughts and reflections ready to submit if ever called upon. You may find it helpful to write things down in detail, for example, or to make notes on insights and learning points. The process of writing makes you think about your experiences at the time, and makes planning and reflection much easier - it’s your portfolio so it’s about whatever works best for you. You can't review your experiences without recording them, however good your memory is.
When starting a CPD portfolio you may like to consider:
Writing a personal statement of who you are, your achievements and where you want to go with your career.
Any learning experiences over the previous year (or over the past three months if it’s easier). Write down your thoughts about what you’ve learned, what insights it gave you and what you might have done differently. Include events such as:
• learning from colleagues and peers
• reading about new technologies, new methods of working and legislative changes
• shadowing or assisting an experienced colleague/peer
• reflections, insights and learning points from working with a new client
• conferences / workshops / internet tutorials / classes
• attending professional / client meetings
• insights and lessons learned from mistakes
As part of your development, it is useful to make a note of any outcomes of each learning experience and what difference it has made to you, your colleagues, your patients (if relevant), your employer or your client.
Where do I want to be?
You may want to keep a record of your overall career goals - where you want to be in two, five and 10 years' time. Be specific and most importantly make sure they are achievable. Then write down three specific and achievable short-term objectives of how you are going to get there and by when – basically what you can do today or tomorrow to get you on track. This can be as simple as chatting with a colleague to find out about a new technology or piece of software which they are using and you are interested in.
Review your progress
This step is essential! Make a note in your diary to review your progress. You can do this as often as you feel the need - once every three, six or 12 months is usual. But do it – it’s an important part of your CPD.
Putting a CPD portfolio together if asked to provide evidence by AHCS
AHCS will require you to provide specific sections within your portfolio. Please have a look at the appendices at the end of this document for a sample of portfolio entries from an NHS employee and freelancer.
Start with a front cover including your logo, name, contact details and a title, for example ‘Continuing Professional Development Audit 2013-15’ (Appendix 1).
Then include on the inside:
• A contents page (Appendix 2 and 7).
• A two-year history of any CPD activity (Appendix 3 and 8).
• A Summary of recent work/practice (Appendix 4 and 9).
• A Personal Statement (Appendix 5 and 10) which should cover the following points:
- A registrant must maintain an up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
- A registrant must demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
- A registrant must seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery
- A registrant must seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user
- A registrant must present a written portfolio containing evidence of their CPD upon request.
- Evidence sheets
Over the next few pages are examples to give you some guidance on what you can include for each section. A sample entry, which you will need to provide for each item on your ‘Two-year history of CPD activities’ list (Appendix 5, page 10), is provided for guidance from both an NHS and freelance perspective. You will be able to populate each section with your diary entries from the MAA website CPD page.