What is CPD?

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery, having national jurisdiction since 2010. One of its key roles is to protect the public by making sure that only nurses and midwives who are suitably qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered.

CPD is the means by which members of the profession maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence, and develop the personal and professional qualities required throughout their professional lives. Nurses and midwives registered to practise in Australia are expected to undertake a minimum number of continuing professional development (CPD) hours directly relevant to your context of practice.

Ongoing learning is now recognised as an essential component of registration by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (the Board). NMBA states, 'The type of learning activities selected can be broad and varied. Registrants are encouraged to consider the combined use of multimedia and multiple instruction techniques, e.g. face-to-face, simulation, interactive elearning, self-directed learning.' 

Some examples of active continuing professional development include:

  • Postgraduate studies 
  • Participating in journal clubs 
  • In-service education 
  • Attending conferences, workshops and seminars 
  • Authoring a book chapter
  • Having an article published in a peer-reviewed journal. 

National CPD Standards

The NMBA Registration Standard: Continuing Professional Development sets out the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s (NMBA) minimum requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) for enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwives

The Standards explain that:
•    Nurses and midwives are expected to participate in at least 20 hours of CPD per year.
•    One hour of active learning will equal one hour of CPD. It is the nurse or midwife’s responsibility to calculate how many hours of active learning have taken place.
•    The CPD must be relevant to the nurse or midwife’s context of practice.
•    Nurses and midwives must keep written documentation of CPD that demonstrates evidence of completion of a minimum of 20 hours of CPD per year.
•    Participation in mandatory skills acquisition may be counted as CPD.

Documenting your CPD

The National Board recommends that you keep evidence of CPD, including self-directed learning, for a period of five years.

To provide evidence of  CPD, you may need to provide the following documentation:
•    The identified learning need – based on an evaluation of your practice against the relevant competency or professional practice standards
•    A learning plan – based on identified learning needs
•    Your participation in the learning activity – relevant to learning needs
•    The outcome achieved and reflection on the value or effect that participation in the learning activity will have on professional practice.
•    References to the articles that you have read are needed for self-directed activities.

A template on how to appropriately record your CPD is provided by NMBA and here

More information

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has developed a number of documents and standards to guide learning. 

  1. Fact sheet: Continuing professional development: This fact sheet addresses common queries that you might have about the Registration standard: Continuing professional development.
  2. Registration standard: Continuing professional development: The Board has developed registration standards that apply to numerous measures and requirements of nursing competency. One such requirement of all practicing nurses and midwives is an annual commitment to at least 20 hours of continuing professional development (CPD). 
  3. Guidelines: Continuing professional development: These guidelines support the Registration standard: Continuing professional development by offering more information about the Board's minimum annual CPD requirements and how nurses can meet these requirements to ensure their CPD is effective. 

How APNA can assist you with CPD

As the peak professional body for nurses working in primary health care, APNA provides a range of services to support the professional development needs of both its members and the wider primary health care nurse workforce.

Workshops and learning opportunities:

Tools and services:

  • Access to APNA's member-only CPD portal (accessible via the member dashboard)
  • Web-based clinical and professional resources 
  • Telephone and email support for professional development and education enquiries

Quality-assured learning opportunities for nurses in primary health care:

  • APNA's Endorsement program  involves a quality-assured assessment and endorsement of face-to-face and online educational activities that meet the high professional standards of APNA and its members

APNA Communications which provide information on professional development opportunities:

  • A quarterly journal magazine Primary Times
  • A weekly enewsletter APNA Connect with latest news and information

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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