Tips on how to keep a successful CPD portfolio

04 Feb 2022How to

As an Allied Health Professional, you know how vital it is to keep an accurate record of your CPD activities in case you are selected for an HCPC audit. But what makes a successful CPD portfolio? Let’s explore.

  • Firstly, you’ll need to decide where to document your CPD. Will you use your diary, a shiny purple folder, a Word document, or perhaps an online tool like Julia? Whatever you pick, be consistent - or you won’t remember where you’ve stored everything when you need to collate it!

  • It’s fantastic to be keen, but don’t try to do everything at once or it will seem overwhelming. Make an action plan, break it down into sections and do one thing at a time.

  • You needn’t wait until being selected for audit to prepare your required information; if you have some time spare, put together your summary of recent work/practice (max 500 words) and your personal statement (max 1500 words). It’s easier to have something and tweak it when you’re up against a deadline rather than writing it from scratch when you’re under pressure. It would be a good exercise to try when preparing for a performance review or supervision session, so you can double the benefits from your time.

  • To meet Standard 1 (Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of CPD activities), say how you record your CPD, where you keep your certifications or evidence, whether you have an annual appraisal and who with, whether anyone approves of your CPD plan, and who authorises your formal courses. You’ll also need to compile a dated list of CPD activities you’ve carried out, explaining any gaps.

  • For Standard 2 (Demonstrate that CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice), you’ll simply need to ensure you have a variation of CPD activities, i.e. formal, work-based, self-directed, and professional. Don’t rely too much on one area (you’ll find yourself getting stuck in a rut, too).

  • To achieve Standard 3 (Seek to ensure that CPD has contributed to the quality of your practice and service delivery): state the obvious! How have your activities helped you to improve the quality and delivery of your work?

  • For Standard 4 (Seek to ensure that CPD benefits the service user), say how your CPD has helped others, whether it’s your patients, your team, your students, or another relevant group.

  • Make sure you reflect on your CPD activities while they are still fresh in your mind. You could use something like the Gibbs Reflective Cycle to help with this. Think about:
    • What did you do, why did you decide to do it, what have you learned from it?
    • How is a piece of CPD relevant to your role?
    • How has it affected your work and your ability to work safely, effectively and legally?
    • What aspects of your work have changed as a result of your CPD?
    • If a CPD experience wasn’t what you hoped it would be, why not?

  • Digitise as much as possible as you go - you’ll need to submit your evidence to the HCPC in digital form eventually for your audit. If you don’t have access to an online CPD portal like Julia, make sure you label your folders well so you can easily find your evidence later.

  • Remember that your evidence doesn’t just have to take the form of a certificate - that’s not the end goal. It can be anything from a website screenshot, an email confirmation of attendance, an appraisal, a presentation, or testimonies or letters from your service users.

  • Likewise, not all CPD has to take the form of an official course. Watching a webinar on YouTube, listening to a relevant podcast, reading a journal, talking with colleagues: all of these day-to-day activities can count towards your CPD.

  • As a result of COVID-19, you will have completed a significant amount of self-directed learning: the sources of this information, your response and reflection on it, and how it will affect your work can be recorded as evidence. You will most likely have undertaken specific training in relation to COVID-19 too; record this as well. However, don’t struggle to fill any gaps caused by the pandemic; the HCPC simply asks you to explain any gaps of three or more consecutive months due to COVID-19.

The 4 key takeaways

  1. You’re doing your CPD anyway, so be sure to record and reflect on it on a regular basis.
  2. Be consistent and form good habits, then your CPD portfolio will no longer be a chore!
  3. Think outside of the box when it comes to variation of CPD activities.
  4. Don’t overwhelm yourself; take things step-by-step to achieve your goals.

If you’re looking for a tool to help you with your CPD journey, AHPs can try Julia for free today - it’s your secret weapon in recording, reflecting and reporting on CPD.

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