Authors: Jean Rankin, Anne Armstrong
The dynamic nature of healthcare makes it crucial for professionals to be adaptable and responsive in their roles for everyday practices. Lifelong learning through continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential component of effective and quality healthcare systems to provide health care staff with opportunity to keep updated in their practice. The aims of this present study were to determine the learning needs of nurses and midwives prior to changes impacting on practice and later explore the effectiveness of CPD activities to prepare staff for these changes in practice. The initial phase used a mixed methods design and involved an online questionnaire (n=700) with eight follow up focused discussion groups (n-50). Descriptive and qualitative analysis were conducted. Formal and informal CPD activities were offered to address the knowledge, skills and experience needs identified. The follow-up qualitative phase involved six focused discussion groups (n=35). Clear benefits of CPD were reported across all staff groups. This included increased knowledge and skills, increased motivation and confidence, decreased stress at work, improved job satisfaction and working relationships with colleagues and the others. Findings also included the role of employers, CPD and individuals in supporting and updating practitioners with the relevant knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for them to provide safe and effective care in their everyday practice. In this study, CPD was seen to be crucial component in healthcare and was integral to the role of professionals in everyday practice
Keywords: lifelong learning; continuing professional development; learning needs analysis; evidence-based practice; proactive approach; policy implementation.