Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is necessary for health professionals for the following reasons:

  • to maintain registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • may assist your defence if your professional competence is called into question
  • to satisfactorily complete workplace appraisals
  • to build resume when applying for promotion, position with new employer
  • may constitute evidence of RPL (recognised prior learning) when applying for entry into some education courses.

The last three points are also increasingly relevant to non-regulated workers in aged care.

The practice of health practitioners in Australia is regulated by the Health Practitioner National Law act. The register of health practitioners is maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is the umbrella agency for the specialty boards which regulate the professions.

Regulated professions providing palliative care services to residents in aged care include; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers,  nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, podiatry, medicine and occupational therapists. 

Each of the national boards specifies continuing professional development activities that practitioners must undertake to maintain registration. While the specifications vary slightly between the professions they are broadly similar.

Nursing and Midwifery Board professional development requirements:

Key points regarding continuing registration requirements are:

  • nurses with 9-12 months registration must undertake 20 hours of CPD annually
  • 1 hour of active learning is equivalent to 1CPD point
  • CPD must be relevant to context of practice
  • participation in mandatory skills acquisition may be counted as CPD activity
  • nurses must maintain a record of CPD activities undertaken.

Members of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) or the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) can access programs through these organisations to record their CPD activities.

Useful Tip

Throughout the year AHPRA periodically audits randomly selected samples of health practitioners for compliance with mandatory registration standards (CPD, currency of practice).

Allied Health professional development requirements:

Continuing professional development requirements for allied health vary according to profession. Requirements listed with AHPRA include:

Occupational therapist - All practicing occupational therapists must complete a minimum of 30 hours of CPD per year directed towards maintaining and improving competence in occupational therapy practice.

Physiotherapist – All practicing physiotherapists must complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPD each year.

Psychologist – All practicing psychologists must complete 20 hours of CPD activities and 10 hours of peer consultation activities annually.

Page created 05 August 2019