CPD: A new era

OT  clinical editor and AOP head of education, Dr Ian Beasley, discusses the GOC’s new CPD scheme and shares insight into his Personal Development Plan

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Getty/Nuthawut Somsuk

Almost a month into 2022 and for me the “New year, new me” mentality is now perhaps more accurately, “New year, same me,” with yet another failed pledge to a list of resolutions that lasted hours rather than days. The General Optical Council (GOC) has shown much greater commitment to honouring its New Year’s pledge to overhaul its CET system, with the launch of a shiny new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme on 1 January 2022.

While many changes to the scheme will feel quite passive to most registrants, and in many respects less arduous, there are some aspects that require practitioners to pause for thought before diving into this brave new era of professional development.

Responding to change

Firstly, the shackles are off with a welcome move away from the ‘tick box’ competency system, allowing registrants greater freedom to exercise judgement and tailor their learning needs in line with their scope of practice. While this is undoubtedly a positive change, practitioners will now have to think more carefully about fulfilling their own professional development needs.

Indeed, the first task that registrants face is to complete a scope of practice statement and upload a personal development plan (PDP) within three months of logging in to the new GOC portal. Completing this task at the start of the cycle allows practitioners to take a moment before they start scampering to meet their points tally and consider: how is this CPD relevant to my scope of practice?

I stepped away from clinical practice in 2020 to focus on my core roles at the AOP, alongside my teaching and research interests at Aston University. Nevertheless, I am keen to retain my name on the GOC register for at least another decade, or maybe three depending upon the appetite of my offspring to spend their inheritance in advance.

With my current professional roles in mind, I have scoped out a fairly broad PDP to ensure that I maintain my core skills, but also keep in step with changes to evolving areas of practice such as myopia management and clinical imaging technology. So here is a sneak preview of my draft PDP along with an example learning outcome based on the GOC’s template for you to rate or slate:

Personal development plan template
Dr Ian Beasley's draft personal development plan
The key difference with the new scheme is to ensure that the PDP reflects the environment the registrant works in. For instance, those working in a primary care setting may need to spread their learning activities to mirror the broad spectrum of clinical scenarios they encounter in practice. In contrast, those working in more niche settings will likely want to skew the bias of their CPD to underpin knowledge in their specialist areas of interest.

While the changes brought about by the new scheme will require practitioners to adapt in the short term, having greater control over the direction of their CPD should translate into benefits for the individual registrant, and most importantly, their patients.

About the author

Dr Ian Beasley is OT clinical editor and AOP head of education. He is also an optometrist and a visiting lecturer at Aston University.