I have spent the better part of today trying to catch up after spending a couple days away from the office last week working on my professional development. A catch 22 for a director of professional development, right?
It was a great opportunity, but the aftermath can make you wonder if it was worth it. Well, I am here to tell you to keep your head up, it is! First, it is important to understand what continuing professional development is, and then, to describe why it is beneficial.
Continuing professional development is a key component to an employee’s success; ALL employees, regardless of time, tenure or position in an organization. And, it differs from training and education, an important distinction.
From the text, Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions, authored by a committee of the Institute of Medicine, training is the standardization of a process to yield similar results and education is the process by which people learn to apply solutions to problems and adapt to new situations.
However, professional development transcends both concepts and includes areas such as self-directed learning, systems changes and quality improvement; it teaches people not only how to apply solutions but also how to focus on actual performance and how to identify problems.
Continuing professional development is a learner-driven, lifelong journey. It doesn’t start with formalized education and it doesn’t end when the coursework is over, it is a continuous process. It is focused squarely on promoting effective practice, and is better positioned than other stages of learning to effect change because it occurs when professionals are most likely to be aware of their needs.
So what can continuing professional development do and how can it be beneficial? Perform a search and you will find numerous articles about its benefits, but let me narrow down the list to some of the reasons that resonated most with me (not necessarily listed in order of importance).
Wherever your continuing professional development journey takes you, I hope you learn a lot, and enjoy the experience. There is always tomorrow to catch up on what you missed today!
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