Continuing Professional Development: rhetoric and practice in the NHS
This article explores the experience of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) by supervisory level clinical staff in the National Health Service. Four main themes are highlighted in the literature, namely the nature and experience of CPD, its relationship with human resource management practices, and in particular in career development and planning. These themes are examined utilising sources of (triangulated) empirical data based on a 2500 sample survey conducted across five NHS Trusts. A key finding was that responsibility for learning and development was perceived as belonging to the individual rather than the organisation. Other findings concern a lack of resource based commitment by the organisation to CPD for clinical staff undertaking supervisory-level roles and evidence of ‘credentialism’ with its emphasis on seeking certificated qualifications. The findings raise concerns about the potential for clinical staff to become disillusioned and to perceive a potential breach in their psychological contract because of problems in reconciling their own interests with those of their professional body, and that of their employer in relation to CPD.