What’s in a name? CPD, lifelong learning and revalidation

12 June, 2019 by Jessica Rothnie
What’s in a name? CPD, lifelong learning and revalidation

Jessica Rothnie, Policy Manager at the GDC, shares that this July, we will publish a discussion document on lifelong learning for dental professionals.

This July, the GDC will publish a discussion document on lifelong learning for dental professionals.

We'll be seeking your views on what an ideal model of learning and development might look like. One that can be flexible and responsive to the needs of professionals, while also driving continual upstream improvement in patient care and safety.

Why talk about lifelong learning and not CPD?

After all, CPD is the term that we've all grown used to. But, while it stands for 'continuing professional development', in practical terms, it describes an hourly credit that professionals gain from attending an activity. It doesn't reflect the wider efforts, planning and commitment that goes into a professional's development throughout their career.
If we limit the conversation to 'CPD', we risk limiting the scope and innovation of professional development. Instead of limiting discussions to individual activities, we want to broaden the conversation and take a more holistic approach to dental professional development.

What about revalidation?

On the subject of terminology, you will notice that we don't refer to "revalidation" in relation to lifelong learning or CPD. Revalidation schemes are now in place for doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists, in the UK, to ensure these professionals maintain safe practice and keep up-to-date. However, despite these different schemes sharing the term "revalidation", they are all radically different in their approach, ensuring suitability for different types of health professionals.  The term means different things for different groups of professionals and does not describe a specific model or scheme. Instead of using the term "revalidation", which means different things to different people, we want to focus on the features that should be included in any future lifelong learning scheme for dental professionals.
Dental professionals have their own unique make-up and workforce, working across a variety of settings and roles, they have their own set of challenges in everyday practice. Comparisons to schemes (revalidation or otherwise) adopted by other regulators, can be, but is not always helpful when we are looking for a system that is feasible, practical and effective for dental professionals. 
We want to build a model that first and foremost suits the needs of dental professionals and we want to hear your thoughts on this too. When we publish our discussion document in July, please take the time to give us your feedback and ideas in the consultations area of the website.​​

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