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Compulsory continuing professional development: a questionnaire-based survey of the UK dietetic profession

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Abstract Background: 

Continuing professional development (CPD) for Health Professions Council (HPC) registrants became mandatory in July 2006. Some health professions have identified external barriers to CPD participation, and other research suggests that mandatory CPD can devalue learning. The present study aimed to investigate current CPD practices of UK dietitians and to identify their attitudes towards the new mandatory requirement. Methods: 

UK Dietitians were asked to participate in an online questionnaire made available via an advert placed on the British Dietetic Association’s website and in an electronic newsletter. Results: 

Of 206 respondents, 98.1% kept a CPD portfolio. Those who had undertaken the ‘ABC’ placement model (23.7%) were more likely to keep their portfolio up to date (P = 0.006). Only 41.3% dietitians were confident that they would currently meet the minimum CPD requirement, whereas 77.2% believed they would comply by the first audit in 2010. Some 50.5% dietitians considered their CPD time commitment insufficient due to obstacles such as workload and time constraints. A total of 96.1% respondents acknowledged the importance of undertaking CPD, with the introduction of a mandatory system appearing to provide the motivation to engage in CPD. Conclusions: 

UK dietitians are currently engaging in CPD. There is, however, concern regarding achievement of the compulsory requirement for the HPC 2010 audit. The findings show barriers exist to engaging in CPD activities and to maintaining a portfolio. These issues could be addressed with the introduction of protected time for CPD.
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Keywords: CPD; continuing professional development; dietitians; opinions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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