Formal continuing education

One component of CPD is continuing education or training opportunities held in formal educational environments for professional health workers, such as physicians, nurses, and dentists, as well as allied workers such as dental, laboratory, and pharmaceutical technicians. Formal CPD should focus on “enhancing roles and competencies…and organization of work…, communication, medical ethics, teaching, research and administration” (World Federation for Medical Education [WFME] 2003).

Continuing professional development is ineffective if:

  • Health workers are spending time away from their practice participating in classes or workshops that are irrelevant to their practice setting
  • Attended only because participants receive per diem
  • Geared toward improving a skill for which there is no demonstrated need
  • Taken only to meet regulatory requirements rather than to close a competency gap
  • Simply unsuccessful in developing skills and competencies (IOM 2009; Muula et al. 2004).

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