Medical education is rapidly changing due to evolving medical science. In particular, societal expectations and the increased disease burden are affecting this. Contemporary healthcare therefore now demands that doctors and nurses continuously improve their competencies in order to achieve an adaptive skill mix. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an ideal way for health workers to brush up on their knowledge in this way.
Studies have shown that practice and simulation allow learners to retain 90% of the skills, while writing and speaking help them to retain 70% knowledge. Those that participated in lectures and read without any engaging activities were only able to retain 20% or less knowledge. CPD should be engaging and fun in order to retain maximum knowledge.
Many countries now have mandated CPD in the health sector to achieve this. This assists health workers to deliver high quality care, safeguard the interests of civil society, meet the expectations of patients and improve professional knowledge.
An array of opportunity
CPD learning can vary from formal and structured to informal and self-directed. There are a variety ways to achieve the required CPD. These include in-house continuing medical education (CME), continuing nursing education (CNE), workshop and conference attendance, working with highly trained mentors, e-learning and other skill advancement activities.
This being said, the ability to deliver quality facilitation and practice lessons learnt varies between individuals. The experienced and seasoned facilitators tend to be much better equipped to assess the needs of the participants and are able to effectively reduce these discrepancies.
Many professional and membership bodies charge considerable amounts of money for short seminars and lectures promising learners the latest industry knowledge and skills. As such, it is important for health professionals to choose their CPDs wisely, focusing on modality in order to retain maximum knowledge and receive best return for their investment. CPDs should assist doctors and nurses to maintain knowledge and skills, to improve existing competencies and to develop new competencies.
Patient satisfaction is crucial when choosing CPDs (WHO/Y. Shimizu).
Focusing on patient satisfaction
Patients are the reason for healthcare and they should be at the centre of it. Satisfied patients are more likely to complete treatment regimens and to be compliant and cooperative. The competency of health workers has largely contributed towards patient satisfaction.
It is crucial that doctors and nurses carefully consider which CPDs they choose. A key ingredient for improving patient satisfaction is the continuous professional upgrade of relevant topics by choosing effective learning modality to retain maximum knowledge and skills.
POLHN continuing professional development courses online
Edited by: Margaret Goydych
For more information, contact Mr Mohammed Yasin, technical officer, WHO Division of Pacific Technical support (email here).