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More than a fifth of nurses pay for own CPD, survey reveals

by
01 January 2009, at 12:00am

A recent survey of nurses attending Hill’s nurse roadshows found that just over 20% of nurses pay for their own CPD.

A recent survey of nurses attending Hill’s nurse roadshows found that just over 20% of nurses pay for their own CPD. 

Although no claims have been made regarding how representative the sample is of the general nursing population, this survey mirrors the results of a recent RVCS survey. 

Adrian Pratt, veterinary affairs manager at Hill’s, said, “It comes as no great surprise to find that nurses are so dedicated to doing a good job that they will even fund their learning themselves and it’s great that round 80% are having their CPD paid for. It is a little depressing to find that some of the practices they work in are unable to support nurses in their efforts, perhaps because of the economic situation. 

“We launched our Veterinary Nutrition Academy with the aim of offering easy-to-access CPD free or at very low cost. Practice members can register free and I’d really encourage practice principals and managers to take a look at www.myhillspet.com/vna to see how much is available for negligible or very little expenditure. The credit crunch is affecting lots of people and practices but if we can use any down time available to improve skills and knowledge, that has got to be a healthy response.” 

Bonny Millar, president of the BVNA, said that some employers might still be unaware that CPD is now compulsory for the RVN but the recent RCVS survey of the veterinary nursing profession found that qualified VNs were not finding it difficult to meet the required 45 hours of CPD over three years. 

“Those who took part in the survey said they averaged just over three days in the last 12 months, with 84% of those surveyed saying all or most was paid for by the employer,” she said. “As there is no obligation for the employer to pay for CPD, it is good to know that so many are doing so but it is also important that nurses can demonstrate that any newly gained knowledge will be used to provide a better service to their patients and practice.” 

Sarah Hibbert, president of VPMA, echoed this view. “It would seem logical that relevant CPD which has a benefit to both the practice and individual should be considered in a structured fashion and in light of these findings it would be appropriate for practices to revisit their CPD policies to ensure they are fair and reasonable to all parties concerned.” 

The Hill’s survey also showed that just under 30% of nurses have their own CPD allowance provided by the practice. This suggests that about half the nurses in the UK are to a large extent basing their CPD on self-directed learning.

 According to Adrian Pratt, this could signal a positive step forwards. “On one hand self-directed learners have been shown to be more proactive about learning, more motivated and more likely to retain and use what they do learn. However, there is a danger that a practice could be left with gaps in knowledge or skills unless there is some active intervention in the form of a review or guidance regarding the individual’s particular training needs, those of the practice team as a whole and the appropriateness of individual courses. 

“Those practices that allocate training allowances are to be congratulated on being forward thinking but it is worth remembering that conferring a training allowance does not involve abrogating responsibility for providing support, guidance and encouragement. We have taken care to introduce incentives for completion of Hill’s VNA courses, not because we think that nurses need to be motivated by extrinsic rewards but because we should celebrate those who work hard to become better nurses.”