I had the opportunity recently to talk about digital CPD on behalf of Physiopedia at the first Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Physiotherapy Society Conference, in the UK. It was a great chance for me to reflect on where my own interests lie and to collate my experience of doing meaningful CPD to share with student Physios as they begin their training and careers.
Part of my role at Physiopedia is to produce monthly evidence updates for Physioplus members, and I’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of research articles being published each month – in fact it has more than tripled in the last 10 years.* This is great for the Physiotherapy profession, but challenging for us as individual therapists. I’m really interested in if and how physiotherapists access the new research that’s coming out and we did some research on this last year. In a nutshell, Physiotherapists all over the world believe in evidence-based practice but report difficulties in accessing, evaluating and using the research in their clinical practice.1
When you decide to be a Physiotherapist, whether you realise it or not, you’re setting yourself up for a career-long learning curve – so the sooner you can find a way to manage your ongoing CPD the easier your life will be (and maybe you can avoid fear of the dreaded audit?). Physiotherapists now are turning more and more to digital solutions for their learning, and there are loads of benefits to this (and some challenges!), beautifully summarised by Scott Buxton recently in his post and symposium contribution on the subject.
At Physiopedia we are all big advocates of making CPD as relevant and manageable as possible. Here are a few tips for making the most of the opportunities that digital CPD can provide:
- Focus There is so much out there between social media, educational platforms and journal articles, it can be overwhelming. Have a plan – don’t try and learn everything out there, it’s not possible!
- Think big… What does Physiotherapy mean to you? What are your values as a physio and what do you need to do to get there? Make a plan that’s relevant for you and focus your learning around it.
- …but start small Think podcasts, short online courses, blogs that gather evidence in an area you’re interested in, and more!
- Be smart Learn from what you are doing anyway – can you convert daily clinical interactions into learning opportunities?
- Learn it and use it Make sure that your microdosing CPD learning goes from superficial to deep. Use delayed recall techniques, flashcards, note making, presenting back to your peers – find a way that works for you.
- Engage and make use of those contacts Through social media, educational forums, blogs. Get involved, be cheeky, ask for help, just keep it professional.
- Record it However you do, just do it! Little and often and find a way that’s easy for you, and quick to export or demonstrate in case of a job interview or audit. I love the Physioplus platform for this.
Digital CPD and volunteering with Physiopedia has helped me to do my CPD whilst on the move, connect with experts to improve my learning, allowed me to keep in touch whilst on a break from clinical work, it has helped me to share and learn with colleagues, supported me in changing career direction, given me a bigger (global) picture and has led to countless online and offline opportunities – where could it take you?!
* Based on the number of articles listed in PubMed with the term “Physiotherapy” or “Physical Therapy” in the title or abstract: 3313 in 2009 and 11610 in 2019.
1. How Physiotherapists from across the globe access current research: a preliminary analysis. Aird L, Beamish N, Lowe R, Lowe T. Presented at WCPT 2019, Geneva, Switzerland: PO-C-16-SAT2.