Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a structure that enables employees to further their learning and development after gaining initial qualifications. CPD is vital for employees to keep up to date with current standards and legislation to ensure employees are working to best practice and developing knowledge and experience both formally and informally.
As a healthcare provider it is imperative that our employees are trained to regulatory requirements that apply to our industry. The majority of our clinical employees have to register with a regulatory body such as the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) or the BDA (British Dental Association).
In my department we provide diagnostic imaging such as x-rays and CT scans using radiation. Due to the dangerous nature of radiation, all staff have to adhere to the IR(ME)R (Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations). Staff are provided with a host of training options from online sessions, seminars, bespoke on-site lectures, etc. to ensure they are aware of the current rules and any proposed changes in the near and distant future.
As a diagnostic referral for a scan is a legal document, Radiology staff also provide IR(ME)R training to relevant staff outside of Radiology so they are also working within current legislation. Continuing education and training on new technologies and advancement in equipment and techniques improves safety for employees working with radiation and patients receiving it.
My Trust has rolled out an initiative of talent mapping which helps develop and retain valuable staff while also supporting their career development.
This initiative, through CPD, aims to have employees ready to fill more senior roles when they become available and staff that are committed to their CPD are required for the future success of the organisation. If an organisation is not committed in proactively supporting CPD they risk losing a high percentage of their workforce.
Project work – recently the band 6 staff were all put on a development initiative, they had to find a problem that affected all staff members and then provide a plan to resolve the problem and then action that plan. E.g. clinical staff being dehydrated because they cannot leave their working area to get a drink, water bottles were ordered for all staff and crates were provided for all wards where bottles could be kept, also a name tag for their name to be on the bottle.
Secondments – the majority of secondments are in an area of the hospital you don’t usually work in so this can help develop a wider understanding of how other areas/processes work. However, if the secondment is for a short period of time then the employee may not be able to get into the role quick enough before it ends. On a smaller scale I rota my staff to work within the different areas within Radiology, three of these areas are reception desks so it is beneficial to compare how tasks are completed and adopt the best processes from each.
Delegation – I periodically send my staff to multidisciplinary meetings, or ask them to be responsible for the lost property or Health & Safety. This gives them a feeling of ownership and then they are more invested to want to make that area succeed.
Mentoring – I ask the apprentices from last year who are now band 2 to mentor the next wave of apprentices as they have just experienced the same pathway and can provide a wealth of information that they learned on their first year within the Trust.
Stepping up – due to unforeseen circumstances I had to step up into my managers position when she left suddenly which meant I had to learn fast and deal with processes I never knew. I arranged meetings with finance, payroll, HR and supplies to make sure I knew everything I possibly could about tasks. What they needed from me, who my POC were, etc. Although this was challenging, it opened another level to my knowledge and understanding as well as increased my networking circle.
When you know your staff members you are able to identify what knowledge and experience they have, what their professional and personal skills are and whether they are performing to an acceptable level. This analysis of all their strengths also highlights their weaknesses and training gaps (knowledge, experience, etc.). There are numerous ways to identify an individual’s development needs, below are a few I use – (see next page)
Self-reflection is vital in order to progress, develop and evolve in your role, by constantly reviewing how you work and learn you can gauge how effective/efficient you are. Understanding your weaknesses as well as your strengths gives you a self-awareness that proactively helps you to improve. I have completed various self-reflection techniques which I have explained below –
I completed SDI which highlighted that because of my OCD I do not outwardly show a huge change of behaviour when I am doing fine compared to when I am stressed. This means that other people are not aware that my stress levels have increased and that I am in a heightened sense of pressure/tension/anxiety. Usually people’s behaviour noticeably changes when they are feeling stressed, e.g. short tempered, aggressive, depressed, unkempt. By using the scale below, consider that from a colleagues viewpoint they would see me go from stage one straight to stage five showing only a minimal amount of behaviour change.
By recognising this behavioural trait in myself I am able to counteract it by verbally expressing my stress levels to my team, this understanding on their behalf improves the communication within the team.
Based on my answers to the introspective self-report questionnaire my personality type is ISTJ – Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging (my OCD does create a bias though because without my OCD I would be an ISFJ – Feeling).
The results and subsequent increase in my self-awareness has improved my leadership and management skills. Understanding my personality style and associated characteristics has enhanced my professional and personal development and how I …
Observations – I will set up my laptop and work in the same office/area as my staff so I can observe how they interact with each other , how they work to overcome problems or achieve goals. This can highlight where they are confident and where they may be lacking in knowledge, experience and training.
Appraisals – I have quarterly performance meetings with each of my staff to monitor their development and level of competancy. I encourage staff to make suggestions on their development so they take ownership of their learning. When they feel more invested they are more likely to suceed.
Changes – reviewing any upcoming changes, such as, a new piece of equipment or the implimentation of a new database. Examining how each individual will react/respond to change and what I can put in place to help the transition e.g. training or additional support.
Feedback – I use positive and negative feedback to highlight to my staff how they are perceived by colleagues, patients and visitors to our department/organisation. As this is the view of a third person it it easier to discuss any learning gaps highlighted.
Targets – I set reachable targets/objectives (SMART framework) for my staff to achieve so that I can measure each member accordingly. I am aware that each individual will work differently and to different levels of competancy but the standard of the work and the process set out is a good indicator of where my staff sit on a capability spactrum.