CPD: the home stretch

OT  explores the remaining steps practitioners need to take in the final year of the CPD cycle – including insight on a new reflective exercise

A woman wearing a beige cardigan, a blue shirt and an analogue watch types on a silver laptop. The laptop is on a wooden desk beside a cup of tea and a text book.
In 2024, many optometrists will be undertaking an educational stocktake as the profession enters the final year of a revamped Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle.

What further learning has been completed? And what steps remain to meet the General Optical Council’s requirements?

OT explores how the profession is tracking against the optical regulator’s expectations, puts a spotlight on CPD events in 2024, and explains the new reflective exercise that optometrists must complete by the end of the cycle.

To PDP or not to PDP?

Entering the final year of the CPD cycle, there is a broad spread in terms of progress towards further education requirements.

At the front of the pack are the 13% of registrants who have completed all of their 2022-2024 CPD scheme requirements.

In contrast, around 14% of registrants are yet to complete a personal development plan. This group includes 2599 optometrists.

GOC head of education and CPD operations, Philippa Mendonsa, emphasised that completing a PDP is mandatory in order to meet the requirements of the GOC’s CPD scheme.

“We have recently added a pop-up bar on MyCPD for those who have not yet uploaded their PDP, which will disappear once it’s uploaded,” she said.

The GOC has produced a template that registrants can use to create their PDP – but they can also use an alternative template provided by their employer, professional body or one that they have developed themselves.

The GOC template can be downloaded by logging into MyCPD and going to the Personal Development Plan Page. 

More information on completing a PDP is available through the optical regulator’s YouTube channel and website

“The purpose of a personal development plan is to act as a personal road map for registrants’ learning requirements and CPD activities,” Mendonsa explained.

“The key benefit for registrants is that it allows them to make more meaningful and strategic choices when completing their CPD. It will also help registrants to complete the mandatory reflective exercise they need to carry out towards the end of the cycle,” she emphasised.

When filling out a PDP, registrants should consider what CPD they would like to do that would be useful to them.

“We know that career paths and learning requirements change over time, so we advise registrants to review their PDP regularly to ensure it aligns with their learning needs,” Mendonsa shared.


In a nutshell: the reflective exercise

For the first time, GOC registrants will need to complete a reflective exercise as part of the requirements for the 2022-24 CPD scheme.

Mendonsa explained that the exercise provides opportunities for registrants to review their PDP, reflect on their experiences in practice to date and consider where they want to develop their skills.

“This will be through a discussion with a peer and should take place towards the end of the cycle once all, or most, of the registrant’s CPD requirements have been met,” she said.

A peer can be another healthcare professional, including an optometrist or dispensing optician, but cannot be a close friend, relative or employee.

Addressing the rationale behind the reflective exercise, Mendonsa highlighted: “The reflective exercise allows registrants to think about their experiences over the cycle to gain insights about their practice which can help them improve the way they work and the care they give to their patients.”

She added that the reflective exercise also provides an opportunity to consider their future professional development and what they might want to do in the next CPD cycle.

“If a registrant uses the GOC’s template on MyCPD, the written reflection will be displayed to them at the start of the next cycle to assist them in setting new goals,”Mendonsa said.

2024: a packed education schedule

The AOP has developed a rich programme of education for 2024 – keeping in mind the requirements optometrists have to meet as the end of the CPD cycle draws near.


OT exams taken in 2023

More than 100 hours of CPD on a diverse range of topics will be on offer at 100% Optical (24-26 February, ExCeL London), followed by a comprehensive schedule of in-person and online education throughout the year. 

AOP head of education and Optometry Today clinical editor, Dr Ian Beasley, shared with OT: “The AOP has developed an extensive programme of CPD for 2024, acknowledging the priorities of practitioners in the final year of the cycle. With demand expected to be high for the ‘hot ticket’ items – interactive points and peer review sessions – the education team has commissioned a portfolio of events designed to tick these boxes.”

The education programme covers a broad range of subjects, while also providing tailored content for different modes of practice.

“Throughout the year, members can earn interactive points from the comfort of their own homes through a range of themed webinar days on key topics, such as paediatrics, myopia, dry eye and OCT,” Beasley said.

“Our members can also expect to see a mix of virtual and face-to-face events offering peer reviews and discussion workshops tailored for locums, hospital and specialty optometrists, and those working in an independent setting,” he added.