CPD online: make a date for your diary
From mid-April, RCSLT SLT and support workers members can start using the electronic diary system to record their continuing professional development activities. Here Annie Faulkner talks to members who have already tested the scheme, and the RCSLT’s Head of Professional Development, Sharon Woolf, who is taking the online system forward
Online continuing professional development (CPD) systems are already well established and are used by other healthcare profession groups, including doctors, ophthalmologists and paramedics as a means of simplifying and customising the CPD process.
We then offered the diary to CPD network members. Over 160 registered to try the system out between November 2005 and February 2006, to assess its capability and give feedback on any modifications deemed necessary.
The RCSLT’s electronic scheme offers all practising therapist and support worker members a simple way to record and update all their CPD activities and their reflections on learning on an ongoing basis.
Fifty network members gave feedback through questionnaires and the online diary forum. The feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive and the diary is seen as a welcome development.
Its aim is to minimise paperwork and to align methods with Health Professions Council (HPC) requirements for CPD and the NHS’s Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) processes (see February’s Bulletin, pp18-19).
Testing the diary As part of its development process the online diary has gone through several stages of field- testing. In May 2005, the RCSLT ran a three- month pilot scheme with 13 therapists and support workers to give the diary a small- scale test run.
Comments included: “very user friendly”, “straightforward to use”, “so much easier than then log”, “a big improvement on the old system”, and “just what I have been waiting for”.
RCSLT Head of Professional Development Sharon Woolf said, “The reasoning behind the pilot testing was to find out where the glitches were.
“As a member-led organisation it is vital to have input from members about what they wanted. We have been pleased with the response that we have had from members so far.”
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Responses from the pilot scheme users
June Hardiman – senior speech and language therapy assistant Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust “I used the initial pilot scheme for six months. I found it easy to use and enjoyed using it. I initially used it once a week. I put records in the diary and then transferred them once month.The manual was clear and easy to follow.”
Ruth Nieuwenhuis – researche , Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust “The diary format is easy to follow for anyone with a basic knowledge of computing (especially online ordering). The ‘menu’ system is not too complex and you can flip between the different sections quite easily. I have kept using the diary every 3-4 weeks and managed to update my personal development plan (PDP) and CPD activities as the year progressed.This has avoided the end-of-year panic as the dreaded log hits the floor through the post box. I would not now want to return to the paper exercise we did before.This is much quicker and links activities, reflections, and CPD together in an economical way.”
Mei Lee – SL , Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich “I found it generally great but wished that the KSF linkages could be more obvious and simpler so I did not have to type every time which level it linked to. However, it is a really good site and I have found it essentially user friendly. You and the team have done great work. I am glad it is going to be online and that I can pick it up and do it when I have free bits of time.”
Ruth Frost – Principal SLT (job share), the Cochlear Implant Programme, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London “The RCSLT has sent out lots of useful paperwork in the form of the CPD toolkit with paper-driven forms to be used for all aspects of the CPD process. However, I expected that these forms would have been incorporated into the online diary via drop-down menus and options to be filled in.”