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Reading for CPD: How our reflective CPD form can help

23 Mar 2018

Sarah Kennedy

Many of our Members and Fellows read our Current Awareness Updates as part of their continuing professional development. The Updates help to keep surgeons up-to-date with the latest research being published in their particular sub-specialty area. However, it can be difficult to quantify and demonstrate reading as a piece of recognised learning that can be credited.

According to the Core Principles for Continuing Professional Development (PDF) by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges recognised learning can be “personal study such as reading of relevant books and journals and from internet-based learning. This should be self-accredited and accompanied by reflective learning.”

In order to help our Members and Fellows to conduct this ‘reflective learning’, and produce evidence of such work, we have developed a CPD reflective learning form that we include in our Updates (please contact us to request the form if you would like it for your own reading). The document asks the reader to rate the article, outline reasons for the rating and provides space for reflection, including some helpful questions that should be considered.

Reading for CPD 1: QuestionWhen rating an article, the reader should consider the following:

  1. Study design: has the study been designed and conducted correctly (i.e. with the correct groups, correct time of intervention etc.)
  2. Methodology: is the methodology appropriate to answer the research question, and if yes, is it applied rigorously to ensure the results are valid
  3. Bias: can you identify bias, or is any potential bias outlined?
  4. Limitations: are there limitations to the study, have the authors outlined a need for further investigation?
  5. Statistics: are the formulas applied correctly, do the numbers add up?
  6. Transferability: could the results relate to other populations or other settings?

Reflection is different to understanding the results of a study. In this context, reflection allows the reader to establish whether the research is applicable to their own practice. The questions that the reader should be considering in order to undertake good reflective practice include:

  1. Are the results applicable to my own practice?
  2. Will I change my practice or research further after reading this article?
  3. If yes, why?
  4. If no, why not?
  5. Does this article make you feel that you should do further training in a certain area or a different skill set?
  6. How will you go about acquiring that knowledge or those skills?
  7. If this article will not lead you to change your practice, how does it relate to what you do and why do you practice in this way (i.e. outline your learning to this point)?

The importance of this type of reflection is also outlined in the Core Principles document:

Doctors should always reflect on the learning gained from their CPD and any changes made as a result, including the likely effect on their professional work and any further learning needs identified. Reflection will help a doctor assess whether their learning is adding value to the care of their patients and improving the services in which they work, and they should record any impact (or expected future impact) on their performance or practice.

So why not pick a paper in your next Update and try some reflective learning using our form? It may reinforce existing good practice or reveal that changes could be made in order to improve patient care.

Reading for CPD 2: Continuing Professional Development

If you are interested in this area then you should also note that the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has recently published Interim guidance on reflective practice.

Sarah Kennedy, Senior Information Specialist


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