South African Family Practice

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Continuing professional development

Derek Hellenberg, T Gibbs, D Brigden


It would be unlikely that many of today\'s practicing family doctors have not been involved in Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities. It would be equally unlikely, however, that these activities were part of any contextually structured educational plan towards professional development. Often driven by external need towards a reaccredidation procedure, CME can be seen as a burden upon the average practitioners working day, or more usually evening. The concept of Continuing Professional Development takes the practitioner away from these short-term goals and moves them into a planned educational environment. Using the principles of adult education, this article supports the concept of Continuing Professional Development and demonstrates the value to the practitioner of an educational activity that is both relevant and purposeful towards daily practice, hopefully equally beneficial to the practitioner and patient alike. This article considers some of the theory that underlies the change from Continuing Medical Education (CME) to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), the evidence for its effectiveness, and the ways in which CPD interacts with the processes of appraisal and assessment of medical practitioners.

South African Family Practice Vol. 47(3) 2005: 5-6
AJOL African Journals Online