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Occupational therapists help establish principles of continuing professional development

Friday 25th January 2019
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has helped draw up a guide to continuing professional development in the health and care sector.
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Members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) have contributed to a document outlining principles of continuing professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning in the health and social care sector.

RCOT was joined by over 20 professional bodies and trade unions, with other nursing, midwifery and health organisationsinvolved in establishing the Interprofessional CPD and Lifelong Learning UK Working Group.

It was the first time in 12 years that the document had been updated.

The outcome was that a list of lifelong learning principles were drawn up that will constitute a defined set of goals.

Firstly, it stated that lifelong learning would be everybody's responsibility, with employers supporting and facilitating this. Secondly, the aim is that service users will benefit from the achievement of the goals, with a third aim being the improvement of the quality of service delivery. 

The list also noted that CPD must be "balanced and relevant to each person’s area of practice or employment", and that it should be recorded and the effect on individual competencies should be shown.

Now these have been agreed, the existing code to which occupational therapists work, the  RCOT Code of Ethics in Appendix 2, will be superseded. For now, RCOT members have been advised to use the new ethics alongside the existing ones until the document is fully updated.

Professional development manager at RCOT Dr Stephanie Tempest said: "What is so important in these principles is how employees, employers and the wider system are jointly responsible for CPD and lifelong learning. We want to see these principles used by occupational therapists and support staff to structure conversations about how they continue to learn, develop and take on new skills throughout their career."

Director of professional standards for the College of Paramedics and chair of the working group Will Broughton said the plan going forward will be to "evaluate the impact of the principles next year" before they are reviewed in January 2021.  

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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