Since the early 1990s there has been a steady increase in the number of policy documents stressing the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in order for the workforce to be prepared for changing health care practices and treatments. Without having such a prepared workforce the standard and quality of care provided to patients/clients would not progress.
Professional bodies view lifelong learning as fundamental for continued registration as much of what is learnt during initial education or training quickly becomes out of date.
Learning which does not advance each day will daily decrease.
According to Wallace (1999) there are four benefits of lifelong learning:
- Better care planning.
- Informal exchange of ideas between practitioners.
- Greater assertiveness and autonomy.
- Staff becoming more competent and accountable.
So lifelong learning is fundamental to your progress as a practitioner, and is a habit which you must build in from the earliest days of your career. Agenda for Change (2004) has made explicit the need for lifelong learning for all staff through the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework.