Since the RCVS launched the online Professional Development Record (PDR) in April as an alternative to the CPD record card, over 600 vets have signed up to record their CPD online. The PDR offers much more than the paper card - and the feedback we're getting is that vets prefer it.
"The biggest problem with CPD record cards is that they are never where you want them," says Mark Bowen, BEVA Council member, who teaches equine medicine at Nottingham vet school. "When you get back from a day of CPD your record card is in the practice manager's office, or when you finally find the time to take an hour for lunch and watch a webinar, you find you have taken your card home to complete it."
Even with the best intentions, as Mark admits, CPD record paperwork can tend to build up in the in-tray, resulting in "the usual panic to complete the card before an appraisal or before a Practice Standards Scheme inspection." As Mark says, "All of this hassle is taken away with the new online CPD recording system. The system is quick and easy to use, allowing you to record attendance at any number of types of CPD, from a clinical audit meeting to an external CPD course. It is intuitive and it works well."
The main 'summary' page of the PDR is the only part of the record that the RCVS will look at without asking a vet's permission (other than in exceptional circumstances, such as a criminal enquiry, when we may override the privacy permissions a vet sets). This is equivalent to the information required by the CPD record card and is where vets are asked to specify what type of CPD activity they have undertaken. The page can also be arranged to show, for example, how much time has been spent on a particular type of activity - helpful perhaps in persuading a practice manager (or assistant) that particular CPD really is (or isn't) necessary. A bar running across the top of the screen turns from green to red once the RCVS hours requirement has been met.
"One of the PDR's greatest benefits is the ability to share pages by email with your employer or the RCVS," says Mark. "Hopefully this will mean we do not need to print them all out before future inspections! It will save me time and help me to keep track of my paperwork."
As well as being able to record CPD and share pages easily with others, the PDR also lets you make notes on what you've learnt and store documents, for example presentations and photographs, alongside the activities you undertake. There's also a section for you to plan your future development and a calendar for you to keep track of CPD dates. These uploaded files and notes will also be available wherever and whenever you are online - and, unlike the summary page, (unless there are circumstances such as a criminal enquiry), the RCVS will not access these without your agreement.
To try the PDR yourself, visit www.rcvs.org.uk/education/continuing-professional-development/professional-development-record-for-vets and follow the instructions.
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