On Continuous Professional Development (Part 2)
Completing continuous professional development (CPD) as a freelance or locum doctor can be a challenge. Working independently means you may not benefit from attending regular practice meetings where clinical case discussions, significant event analysis (SEA) and general medical discourse takes place. You may also find it harder completing other aspects of appraisal/ revalidation toolkits like 360-degree evaluation and patient feedback by not being in a regular environment. That does not mean that this is impossible and taking simple steps can actually mean it is a fairly easy task to achieve. (Click here for part 1)
How about if you fancy something more engaging, with a face to face element? There are many courses which run up and down the country catering to a host of CPD needs. These can target specific clinical or managerial areas, or be update courses for the busy clinician.
The RCGP run several well rounded courses across the country with valid certification and local RCGP faculties will always have a diverse list of courses hosted more locally. Other providers are BMJ and local deanery, however if you are after a purely clinical information-injection, search out the excellent GP Update courses which normally run bi-annual and will no doubt help attain multiple CPD needs.
Another option will be privately run educational events. These are normally facilitated by the local private healthcare providers or pharmaceutical companies. The majority are generally free to attend and topic based. They can be very useful events, and a good way to catch up with colleagues as the majority will be out of the normal daily working hours. Finding such events sometimes can be challenging; however enquiring with a local provider, or normally practice managers can prove fruitful.
Remember as a locum you can claim back the cost of courses in your tax return, but discuss this with an accountant first.
The above are ideal for working as an individual; however some of the best learning can take place when learning with others. An easy place to look is at the practices that you locum at. Some maybe willing to include you in their own practice learning. Also most areas will have protected learning sessions under a variety of names (inYorkshirethey are called TARGET, PENPALS and PLT events depending on which area you are in). Do note that backfill for attendance as a locum might not be possible, but if you have no sessions booked at the time of your local event, then they can provide good quality, local learning opportunities.
Another place to look is for local CPD groups. The RCGP in 2010 launched First5, an initiative to support GPs in the first five years after qualification. As a result of this, awareness of local groups has improved, and even if you are not in the first five years of your career, the representatives are likely to be good at sign-posting you to local CPD groups such as sessional groups, chambers or even smaller personal groups (such as post-VTS buddies) that meet on a regular basis. These groups can be a good way of achieving certain aspects of appraisal and revalidation such as SEA, group audits, case discussions or even a chance to debrief with peers. A guide to local leads for First5 can be found here, or enquire at your local RCGP faculty.
Speaking of chambers, these can provide excellent support not only in terms of finding work, but also administration and educational support.
End of Part 2
Hussain Gandhi. Academic Teaching Fellow and Locum GP in Yorkshire area
Website: www.egplearning.co.uk an e-learning portal