Posted on Monday February 15 2016 by RIG Healthcare
As a physiotherapist or any healthcare professional, continual professional development (CPD) is a core part of my ongoing practice. CPD is, in fact, an unconditional part of your job role if you wish to continue being registered with the Health & Care Professions Council. As stated in their latest standards of conduct, performance and ethics:
“You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to your scope of practice through continuing professional development.” (Section 3, Page 7 of the most current HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics published on January 26th 2016.)
CPD is widely available and comes in many forms these days ranging from online seminars to face to face practical courses. However, there is usually a cost involved for those taking part. Like many in things in life, the quality/length of a CPD is usually reflected in the price. High-quality CPD does not always come cheap. The last two courses I have attended/enrolled upon have collectively cost over a thousand pounds. Dependent on your working environment there may be funds available to help you access CPD courses more freely. However, not every health professional is so lucky and as I have previously shown the costs quickly start to mount. How do we balance out this requirement to continually further our development while keeping it cost effective?
What I may suggest may not be for everyone dependent on your learning style but it presents you with an option that is the best price of all. Free. Two years ago I came across Coursera. Coursera is an educational technology company that offers massive open online courses. The majority, if not all of these courses have content provided for them by universities/colleges. For example, the course I discuss later in this blog post was provided by John Hopkins University in America. These courses cover a large variety of topics/subjects. As you may have guessed healthcare is one of the topics that is covered in large detail from statistical analysis to models of healthcare. Stick with me here.
After previously signing up, Coursera had been bombarding my inbox on a weekly basis with course suggestions based on my interests from when I registered with the service. However, I had never taken the plunge. Like most things in life I had the best of intentions when signing up but simply lack the commitment when following through on my intentions. I may cite a lack of time but if I am truly honest it was laziness. As with most things in life a change of habit is brought about by a moment of self-realisation, an epiphany would be the correct word.
My moment of change was brought on by an uninspiring interview in which I realised I did not know everything I must know how to be a competent and effective physiotherapist. The topic I was weak on was dementia. It was one of those subjects I had an acute awareness of but lacked the insight to understand the implications it may have when treating a patient within physiotherapy.
Around the time of my unsuccessful interview, I received an email informing me Coursera would be running a 12-week long course on dementia. I signed up for the course and the work began. Over the next 12 weeks, I learnt large amounts regarding the impact and pathophysiology of dementia and its progression and impact on the physical person. Taking what I had learnt, it gave me a much more concrete starting point about how it may impact on my ability to deliver physiotherapy interventions to those who suffer from dementia.
The great thing I found from using Coursera was that I could learn in my own way/manner from week to week. There were no set time demands that caused me to feel under pressure. I was able to learn at my own pace and when my free time dictated while working to weekly deadlines that were not extremely demanding because they understand the medium their service user is learning in and they understand the service user. Since undertaking the dementia course I have taken several courses since, some because the weekly email caught my attention, others I have actively sought out. I am very fortunate to have discovered a service like Coursera and I hope you will find it useful too. I understand that this blog post may sound like paid advertising but I hope you have realised something. CPD may be an unconditional part of our job roles but continuously having to pay for it is not. There are always other options available.
The link for Coursera is www.coursera.org.
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Did you know RIG Healthcare will contribute to your CPD as an added benefit of working for us? *T&C's apply
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