What is veterinary CPD and why is it important? - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×

InFocus

What is veterinary CPD and why is it important?

We hear a lot about lifelong learning and continuing professional development (CPD) for veterinary professionals, but what exactly does it all mean?

What is veterinary CPD?: 1 of 2

As veterinary professionals, we hear a lot about lifelong learning, but what exactly does it mean and why is it so important? In this article, Paula Hotston Moore of The International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ISVPS) explores what “lifelong learning” means for you.

What is CPD?

Continuing professional development, or “CPD” as it is often called, is a programme of continuous learning to progress your capabilities and competence throughout your veterinary career.

The learning should be appropriate to your role; this may be clinical skills, leadership qualities or skills, such as mentoring, or aspects of health and well-being, for example.

How much veterinary CPD do I need to do?

Veterinarians and veterinary nurses practising in the UK have a professional responsibility and requirement to complete a specific amount of CPD, as set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

All veterinarians on the RCVS professional register are required to undertake a target of 35 hours of CPD per year. All UK registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) are required to complete a target of 15 hours of CPD per year. In both cases, this amount is required no matter whether they are working full-time or part-time, or are currently not in work. Occasionally, the RCVS will make an exception in very specific situations.

To help you meet your annual CPD requirements, Improve Veterinary Practice provide free CPD resources for veterinary professionals.

Why is CPD important for veterinary professionals?

Learning throughout your life as a veterinary professional should be seen as not only a mandatory but an excellent thing to do to keep abreast of alterations and updates in your field. For example:

  • New drugs, dosage changes and treatment options
  • New equipment and practice management systems that are being introduced
  • Current studies in your field of interest
  • Evidence bases for a given topic, recent developments and findings, etc

Whatever sphere of veterinary work you are in, having an up-to-date working knowledge of the field is imperative.

CPD will continually maintain, improve, broaden and develop veterinary skills, knowledge and personal qualities, thus ensuring we remain professionally competent throughout our veterinary careers

Not only this, but CPD can help with career progression and specialisation. With a lack of progression cited as one of the main factors for low retention and dissatisfaction at work (Kiem, 2022; Kiem and Watson-Bray, 2022; Schofield and Jacklin, 2023), continuing professional development could help with workplace satisfaction as well.

Ultimately, CPD will continually maintain, improve, broaden and develop veterinary skills, knowledge and personal qualities, thus ensuring we remain professionally competent throughout our veterinary careers.

When should I do CPD?

Learning should be regular, taking place at intervals throughout the year. It should also be relevant to your individual needs and the field in which you are working.

Some opportunities for CPD are spontaneous and unplanned, but ideally, professionals should look ahead and plan their priorities over the coming months or years

Some opportunities for CPD are spontaneous and unplanned, but ideally, professionals should look ahead and plan their priorities over the coming months or years. Often employers expect this in authorising expenditure.

How do I know what CPD to do?

You should first identify your learning needs and gaps in knowledge or areas you wish to develop or find out more about. From there, you can source relevant ways to further explore and develop yourself in these areas. This way, everyone’s continuing professional development is tailored personally according to individual needs and professional practice.

OV Conference Online 2023

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more