The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is engaging in a six-week consultation with both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses concerning its continuing professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning policy. The consultation will run from 17 June to 29 July.  

The draft consultation document was developed by the College’s CPD Policy Working Group, chaired by Professor Stephen May, and was approved by Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council at its May 2016 meeting and RCVS Council at its June 2016 meeting. The consultation is the culmination of several discussions at both RCVS Education Committee and Council, regarding the longer-term direction of CPD and the possibility of introducing an ‘outcomes-based’ approach.  

Currently, the College expects veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to undertake 105 and 45 hours of CPD respectively over a rolling three-year period. An outcomes-based approach, however, would concentrate less on the number of hours logged and more on interactive, reflective learning and measuring the impact this has on the individual’s practice and patient health outcomes. 

Professor May explained: “Through our discussions about CPD policy, the feeling was that the most constructive way of assessing CPD outcomes would be through the engagement of all our skills as ‘reflective practitioners’. By moving our CPD policy in that direction, members of the profession will be making more explicit, to themselves and others, their thoughts about what they get out of engaging in CPD and how it will benefit their practice. 

“There will be some challenges as far as those who are not accustomed to this sort of approach are concerned, and that is the reason for us doing this consultation on how we achieve the next stage of development. We feel this consultation is needed and a move in this direction is appropriate because if we carry on with a purely ‘input-based’ approach to CPD, then it will make us look rather dated and it becomes harder to defend in terms of where the profession is heading.” 

The consultation will ask for the professions’ views on this model as well as asking if they would like to retain the current requirement to log a certain amount of hours, their opinion on potential changes to the online Professional Development Record and how easy or difficult they think it will be to implement a new system.

The consultation document will be available online from 17 June at www.rcvs.org.uk/CPDconsultation, together with an online survey for submitting responses.  The RCVS will also email veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses with a link to the consultation and online survey and, separately, will seek the views of a range of veterinary and veterinary nursing organisations. 

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday, 29 July 2016. All responses will then be submitted to the CPD Working Party to review at its next meeting in September, with final recommendations made to VN Council in October, and a report to Education Committee the same month and final recommendations to RCVS Council in November.