Continuing profession development or continuing medical education concerns a number of activities aimed at maintaining professional standards, skills-based competency, and currency of knowledge and practice. I’ve just lodged my 2012 CPD points with the RACP. 100 points are required over 12 months. These points are relatively easy to accrue for somebody like myself, for example, attending a conference might garner between 10 and 30 points, a publication scores 5 points, post-graduate study carries 50 points a semester. You can acquire points through online learning, logging your access of UpToDate, recording the clinical meetings you attend and teaching undertaken, and logging participation in quality improvement exercises.
One of the key points with CPD is reflective learning. In fact, in the program that I participate in, demonstrating reflection garners additional points.
After submitting my points I realised that I didn’t include my blogging and microblogging as part of my CPD and likewise – there was no category for this type of activity in the menu of options available to accrue points. When I post medical tweets it is often after having read abstracts and whole articles from the medical literature – these days often through Read by QxMD on iPad, via the popular press such as the New York Times, or several other healthcare blogs. My tweets become a potentially audit trail for my CPD activities.
My blog posts have largely been reflective learning pieces on ‘things they didn’t teach at medical school’ and commentary on health policy issues, in particular, on eHealth.
Reflective writing is increasingly adopted into medical school curricula and part the formative assessment process of students. Fischer et al found no difference between written and blogged reflections undertaken in medical clerkships (Med Educ 2011 45(2):166-75).
Although CPD is largely inwards looking blogging and microblogging serve an outward looking purpose in that it is a way of disseminating information and opinion and also communicating with other interested parties, potentially creating learning communities. In some cases the amount of influence is measurable through a variety of social media metrics (e.g. Klout and Kred Scores).
CPD programs should recognize blogging and social media activities as valid forms of reflective learning.