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The benefits of lifelong learning and education in the health sector

Health care professionals train for many years so that they can make a difference to people’s lives on a daily basis.

Bolstering academic qualifications with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) helps to ensure that those in the sector can adapt to the rapidly changing landscape and meet the needs of patients, through the development and improvement of skills, knowledge, and competencies. A consistent record of CPD also provides a significant competitive advantage in employability.

However, this is not without its challenges. Experts from Northumbria University and TyneHealth GP Federation share their views on the value of, and barriers to, CPD in the sector:

Dr Daniel Monk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing, Midwifery & Health at Northumbria University, said: “CPD is generally undertaken in the staff’s own time, so work-life balance can become challenging. Hours are often long and, in certain roles, pay can be low. So many health care professionals are increasingly lacking the time or motivation to undertake the additional challenge of ongoing learning, which is an integral part of career progression.

“We also see varying levels of understanding about the value of CPD, as well as limited access to funding.”

Explaining the main benefits of CPD, Dr Emma Senior, also Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing, Midwifery & Health at Northumbria, said: “CPD improves quality of care and maintains the use of contemporary evidence-based practice to inform care. It builds a workforce that is responsive to the changing needs of patients and the treatment provided.

“It’s important that we collectively recognise the benefits and work towards ensuring staff have the time and support they need to undertake, and thrive on, lifelong learning.”

Dr Daniel Monk agreed: “CPD ultimately improves care by increasing confidence in patients and practitioners. This in turn improves life outside of work and leads to greater staff motivation, satisfaction and retention too.”

Kristy Butters, Senior Nurse at TyneHealth GP Federation, has worked with the team at Northumbria; she said: “Northumbria University supported us to demonstrate a clear educational pathway for postgraduates at all levels; staff can now see how they are able to get from where they are currently, to where they wish to be.

“We have worked with Northumbria to successfully upskill our staff. Many are now on a pathway to top up their qualification, leading to a more skilled workforce."

Reflecting on the experience of TyneHealth GP Federation, Dr Daniel Monk added: “How we work with health care organisations is constantly under review. Our staff are experts in their fields, up to date in their expertise, innovative in their teaching and responsive to the needs of students. But, perhaps most importantly, our leadership team is in constant communication with health care providers, both locally and nationally.

“We genuinely care about the future of the sector, so it’s great to hear positive feedback from partners who have experienced the collaborative role we can play in developing their workforce and supporting lifelong learning.”

To find out more about the CPD, education, training and apprenticeship programmes that Northumbria University offers in the health care sector, visit: www.northumbria.ac.uk/health-and-social-care


 

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Northumbria University .

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