As part of the new revalidation process, you must complete 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to your practice as a nurse or midwife. This must be undertaken during the three years prior to your revalidation date – anything before that cannot be counted.
While 35 hours may sound like a lot, remember that CPD can include a variety of activities – it’s not just about attending courses and conferences. Here’s our guide to the different types of activities that can count towards CPD.
20 hours participatory learning
As most nurses and midwives will be aware, the requirement for 35 hours of CPD is nothing new. Under the current Prep system you must complete 35 hours of CPD – the main change is that at least 20 of these hours must now be in participatory learning. The Nursing and Midwifery Council defines participatory learning as a learning activity in which you personally interact with other professionals.
The activity must be relevant to your scope of practise – and while the people you engage with are likely to be healthcare professionals, this does not have to be the case. Interaction can occur one-to-one or in a group, such as a conference, clinical workshop or training course. It doesn’t have to happen in a shared physical environment either – it can include interacting with other professionals in a virtual space, such as a professional Twitter chat (like WeNurses, NurChat and #RCNchat) or an online forum debate.
Participatory learning can also include team meeting discussions, perhaps where you come together to analyse a situation at work or talk about a development in practice. When you attend a meeting, remember to keep a copy of the minutes as evidence of your participation and any other outcomes such as signed letters, notes or observations. If you go to a seminar or conference, a copy of the attendance certificate can be used as evidence. If attendance certificates aren’t issued, take a photocopy of the register.
The other 15 hours can be non-participatory learning. These are activities that do not involve interacting with other people. For example, reading professional journals, online research papers, or completing e-learning course modules.
Other types of learning
While the NMC does not specify exactly what kinds of CPD activity you should complete, you are expected to undertake learning that is “directly related” to your practice.
Mandatory training days related to a formal aspect of your role can be included. For example, if you are the lead for safe handling and lifting then a mandatory training day on this topic is relevant. However, you cannot count fire training or health and safety training as part of your CPD, because this is not directly related to your practice.
Work-based learning can also count towards CPD. For example, if you have spent time shadowing a senior colleague or someone in a different role to you. Secondments, job rotation, or supervising fellow staff and students also counts.
Professional activities, such as teaching, mentorship or running a course, can be included in your CPD hours. Learning something new in practice or from reading journals or research papers also counts. Remember, you will need to reflect on what you’ve learnt and how your new understanding has changed your practise.
Formal learning relates to courses or modules undertaken at an educational institute, such as studying for a Master’s degree at a UK university. You can include individual modules you have completed, even if these do not carry any credits.
The NMC has published a useful template which you can download and save electronically or print off and complete. You can record your CPD evidence without using their template if you prefer – just be sure to include the following:
- The CPD method – self-directed or participatory learning
- Details of what the activity was and how it relates to your scope of practice
- Date when the activity was undertaken
- The number of participatory and non-participatory hours
- The identification of the part of the NMC Code most relevant to the activity
- Evidence the activity took place (E.g., a certificate or link to an online forum debate).
The NMC has provided samples of completed templates from real life nurses and midwives who have already revalidated as guidance – including a CPD log.