Whose role is it anyway? maximising the impact of continuing professional development on practice

Clark, Elisabeth and Draper, Jan (2011). Whose role is it anyway? maximising the impact of continuing professional development on practice. In: Networking for Education in Healthcare Conference, 6-8 Sep 2011, Cambridge, UK.

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In this symposium, we explore the complexities associated with maximising the impact of learning beyond registration on healthcare practice. Over the last two decades, there has been significant investment in continuing professional development (Department of Health, 2010) and yet the responsibility for ensuring returns on this investment in terms of meeting organisational targets and delivering better patient care is still not well understood or articulated (Mackinnon Partnership, 2007). Despite claims of the importance of lifelong learning (see, for example, Hardwick and Jordan, 2002; Atack, 2003; Clark, 2008), there is limited robust evidence to support such assertions. Most of the empirical studies that have been undertaken are small scale and limited to a single presentation of a single educational programme (e.g. Dierckx de Casterlé et al., 2008; Lin et al., 2008). Against a backdrop of major financial cutbacks across the public sector in the UK and other countries, there is increasingly an imperative to target resources effectively, and to demonstrate value for money and quality outcomes for service users.

Of relevance to educationalists, healthcare practitioners, students and commissioners, the objectives of the symposium are to:
• examine critically the literature concerning the evaluation of CPD, highlighting the associated complexities
• provide an overview of the development of the Impact on Practice (ImP) framework and the role of the student, their manager, their employing organisation and the education provider in enhancing the opportunities for CPD to impact on practice
• outline our approach to evaluating the ImP framework, including the rationale for adopting realist evaluation to determine what works for whom and under what circumstances
• present the evaluation findings and their implications for service providers, education providers and for education commissioning policy and practice.

We will achieve these objectives through the presentation of three inter-related papers and discussion with participants.

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