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Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Changes are coming as of January 2020 - read about the changes to CPD policy and why they are being introduced

What is CPD?

Continuing professional development, or CPD, is the process of continually maintaining, improving and broadening your skills and knowledge, as well as developing personal qualities, which help to ensure you remain professionally competent.

Progressing your professional learning in whichever way is most relevant to you, will help you to develop and improve the professional service you provide.


Who has to do it and why?

All practising veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses listed on the RCVS Register must complete the minimum CPD requirement, regardless of whether they are working full-time or part-time.

The RCVS Codes of Professional Conduct state that all vets and VNs are obliged to maintain and continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills. CPD is therefore mandatory for all vets and VNs and should be seen as the continuous progression of capability and competence.


How much do you need to do?

Vets need to undertake a minimum of 105 hours of CPD in any three-year period with an average of 35 hours per year.

VNs need to complete a minimum of 45 hours of CPD in any three-year period with an average of 15 hours per year.

We appreciate that most vets and VNs will do considerably more than this.


What counts as CPD?

You should review your CPD needs regularly and plan ahead so that you can make the most of development opportunities as they arise.

Most vets and VNs engage in a wide range of CPD activities. Broadly speaking, any activities you undertake in order to further your professional competence as part of a planned development programme can be counted towards your CPD. You don’t have to spend all of your hours on face-to-face learning.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, any of the following activities may count towards your CPD:

  • Attending organised courses, lectures or seminars
  • Shadowing someone or being mentored in your own practice or in another practice
  • Participating in ‘learning sets’ - informal networks of colleagues who learn together, for example, by comparing and discussing case reports
  • In-house training
  • Secondments to other practices
  • Critical reading of veterinary journals and other relevant publications - keeping a reading diary/notes
  • Research, including research in preparation for giving lectures/seminars/presentations
  • Reflection accompanied by brief notes –this can include reflection on a case study, an event, lecture/seminar/presentation or from informal discussions

See our FAQs below for more detail.

How to record your CPD

You can record CPD online using the Professional Development Record (PDR for vets or PDR for VNs).

We recommend the PDR as the most convenient way of recording learning throughout your career. It enables you to log your CPD activities, plus associated notes, files, plans and diary events, all in one place. You can enter your CPD activities in any order, and it will guide you to pick the types of activity from a pick list. You can then sort the columns however you wish, by activity type, by date, subject area, location, or hours spent. The PDR also allows you to see at a glance from your summary record if you have uploaded further files, or entered notes against each activity.

If you prefer to keep paper records, CPD Record Cards are available to download from the 'Related documents' box which is at the bottom of this page.