The feeling of not having enough hours in the day is familiar to most of us. I regularly speak to vet nurses about their CPD, and I know that for many it can be a delicate balancing act to fit 15 hours of CPD each year around work, family and other commitments.

Knowing all of this, I was really pleased last year to see that nearly all vet nurses completed the required amount of CPD for the year. As encouraging as it was to see such high levels of CPD uptake, we want to make sure that all vet nurses are supported in managing their CPD so that it never feels overwhelming. To help you to get the most out of your CPD, we’ve put together a few of tips which we hope will help you complete it in a manageable and enjoyable way.

More counts as CPD than you may think

From talking to VNs, I know that many frequently complete 15 hours of CPD without recognising they are doing so. If you observe someone carrying out a procedure in practice, write a blog for your practice’s website, read about a piece of research in the veterinary press or are studying towards your CertAVN, then you can log all of those things as CPD. Discussing a complex case with colleagues, taking part in lunch and learns, attending KIT days and reading relevant publications also counts.

Claire Roberts, a veterinary nurse from the West Midlands is using a course to count towards her CPD. She said: “I’m currently studying towards a PGCert in Veterinary Business Management and the course uses a range of resources to support the learning journey, including reading, videos, team discussions, formal assignment writing.”

As well as being an easy way to record your CPD, the reflection aspect of the 1CPD app is a great tool for recognising when you’ve completed learning and development that you might not even be aware of.

Accessible options are everywhere

While day-long courses and congresses can be great, they aren’t always the most accessible way of getting in your CPD hours. However, there are numerous ways that you can fulfil the annual requirement without leaving your house, practice or spending any money.

The RCVS, Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) and BVNA, for example, frequently run free online events that count towards CPD. Free courses, training and webinars will often be shared on social media and email newsletters, so keep an eye out for free CPD opportunities that drop up in your feed/inbox. Claire explained that, in her experience, accessible CPD was easy to come by. She said: “I think it is really easy to find free and accessible CPD options. I often see sessions pop up on my Facebook feed or I can search for specific topics. The main challenge is whether the free CPD is relevant to my learning objectives, so I try and select topics that I am either really interested in or that will help me progress in my current role.”

If you need to, you can take a break

If you’re an RVN, you’ll know that you need to complete the required 15 hours of CPD a year. However, we know that both planned and unexpected life events can mean that fulfilling this requirement in some years can be difficult, which is why there is always the option to pause your CPD. Pausing CPD is usually not a problem, with people pausing their CPD for many reasons including sabbaticals, parental leave, ill health or changes in caring/ family responsibilities.

You can easily pause your CPD through the 1CPD web version for up to six months, and your CPD will be adjusted pro-rata when you return to work. As part of your pause application, you’ll be able to put together a development plan through 1CPD to help you get back on track and identify anything that you would like to focus on with your learning.

Claire also explained how forward planning helped her to complete her CPD in good time. She added: “I plan my CPD around what I am trying to achieve in my working life. This year has been relatively easy for me to plan as I am enrolled on a structured course with clear objectives. I haven’t ever had to pause my CPD, but I was always aware that it is an option that can be requested through the RCVS.”

Jenny Soreskog Turp

Lead for Postgraduate Education