In this new blog series, Lara shares her experience as an oversea-trained physiotherapist working in the UK. From guidance on the HCPC registration process to discussion around UK and international physio news, she hopes to provide help to foreign physios looking to work in the UK - and to connect with those of you who already are!
Continuous Professional Development... If you are already a health professional, you know that one of the mantras in the world of medicine is that it keeps evolving... and so should you if you are going to keep up with it.
In my home country, it is recognised that you have to update your knowledge as you grow as a professional, but there is no formal way of keeping record of it apart from adding extra courses you have done onto your CV. However, in the UK you do not only have to keep track of your learning and development but it is a must in order to stay registered with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council).
CPD is not only the extracurricular activities that you undertake but also the informal learning that you do day-to-day. Reading an article, listening to a podcast. Discussing new guidelines with a colleague. Learning a new technique or how to use a new device at work... All of this is classified as learning and development and you should record it as proof of it (don't panic, you do not have to record every single thing, but those that are meaningful to you and your practice).
There are 4 main types of learning activities considered appropriate for your CPD: work-based learning (e.g.: reflecting about a situation at work), professional activity (e.g.: participating in a conference or doing a presentation), formal education (attending a course...) and self-directed learning (like reading an article, etc.).
As part of being registered with the HCPC you might be asked to give proof of your CPD at some point. For your CPD to be recognised, it needs to follow the HCPC's standards for CPD:
- you must maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of your CPD activities;
- demonstrate that your CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice;
- seek to ensure that your CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery;
- seek to ensure that your CPD benefits the service user;
- Upon request, present a written profile (which must be your own work and supported by evidence) explaining how you have met the standards for CPD.
One of the things I get asked by people applying for the HCPC registration is whether they need to create their CPD/portfolio and back-date every activity. The answers is no. However, it is very beneficial to show to the HCPC that you are aware of these standards and that you have started to keep track of your learning in a more formal way, from today.
My advice in this case would be to pick a few significant, recent, but at the same time spread-out through time activities and make a note of them in a CPD portfolio. There is a wide variety of templates that you can use, including very useful ones on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) website.
"Do not undermine the value of secondary learning!"
Finally, do not undermine the value of secondary learning. At the time I was applying for my HCPC registration as a Spanish national, I had been 1.5 years without doing something strictly related to physiotherapy. However, I emphasized on my application the fact that I had been studying English grammar and, as part of my ongoing language learning, I had also been reading health and physio books and articles in English. Once I got to work in a hospital, even though it was not as a qualified physiotherapist, I made reflections on my day-to-day learning, on how the system in the UK worked and what things I needed to improve on as a health professional. All of this information contributes to show that you meet the HCPC and CSP standards and demonstrate your understanding of CPD. Plus, it is a great way to start bettering your writting skills as well as your self-criticism.
Note: be aware that HCPC does an audit every two years where they ask about CPD and proof of compliance with the registration standards. Therefore, being familiar with the process of keeping a CPD portfolio is vital if you plan to stay in the UK as a working physiotherapist. Have a look here for the HCPC audit process.
The team at QualifiedPhysio can help you with the CPD process. If you feel a bit lost regarding the whole process, whether as an international or a UK national, do get in touch with us at email@example.com - we'd be glad to help!
About the author
Lara is a Spanish physiotherapist who has been working in the UK for the past 3 years. Having worked as a rotational physiotherapist over here, she's now got experience in a wide range of specialities and works as a band 6 physiotherapist. However, it hasn't always been easy finding her way and adjusting to the UK system. She's since been sharing her experience and helping other foreign-trained physios to come and settle here; firstly through her own blog, and now as part of the QP team!