Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is a mandatory requirement for professionals in many fields, including medicine, healthcare, technical trades, dentistry, ophthalmology and law. Indeed, in any occupation where skills-fade and loss of practice currency is important it is expected that people undertake CPD as a matter of periodic routine.
Most professional associations require their members to produce and maintain a record or log of all professional development courses and other CPD activities they carry out each year.
Aircraft pilots, whether civilian or military, are a good example of operations where attendance at formal professional development courses, in which they either fly under the direct supervision and monitoring of a senior pilot or complete multiple hours in a flight simulator, demonstrates their ongoing competence.
The medical profession is similar, as this is another arena where lives could be at stake if skills and disciplines may become “rusty” or have not been regularly updated.
Professional development courses can take several directions, such as attendance at technical skills lectures and seminars, hands-on demonstration of skills under various stress scenarios (real or synthetic), knowledge-based peer group discussions, and teaching situations where mentorship of aspiring professionals can be demonstrated and critiqued by more experienced or skilled post holders and instructors.
Professional development courses are an essential tool and benchmark against which ongoing competence can be measured and, if required, demonstrated.
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