Every year businesses including veterinary practices spend thousands of pounds on CPD and external training for team members. CPD funding is often mentioned in the benefits of job adverts and generous CPD budgets are a draw for veterinary professionals (both vets and nurses) keen to improve their skills and knowledge. Businesses are also starting to see the value in professional training for their non-clinical employees too. This is a great step forward, as your customer care team are the face of your business; they must be keen, engaged and knowledgeable in order to convert inquiries into paid services.
But how can practices get the best value out of their CPD budget? One important way is to ensure that CPD knowledge is shared with the team after an event. Many shrewd practices now make the sharing of knowledge a requirement.
Indeed in a survey conducted in 2018 by Training-Progress, one business owner responded ‘I have asked associates regularly to do reports on funded CPD and it rarely actually happens. I’m looking at making it a contractual obligation.’
Whether simply writing it into the contract will make a difference to the situation was not investigated in the study. There are many reasons either formal or informal sharing mechanisms fail.
Our survey said that 48% of respondents will often or always change the way they personally are working after a CPD event. This is good to hear and shows that our profession is keen to develop clinically and are open to change. And while 67% often or always share their learning with their colleagues, the majority of respondents (58%) did this informally. This would presumably be with a limited number of colleagues over coffee and is an unlikely conduit to significant process change. The most common formal method of sharing was in a clinical meeting at 27%. This is an ideal forum for discussing the change of processes. Where practices formally set time aside for this in clinical meetings, CPD can make a significant contribution to practice quality improvement.
It is worth noting, however, that meetings can be difficult to schedule in a busy business, people may dread standing up to present in front of their peers and team members frequently get called away for emergencies. QI meetings need to be attributed with regular and ample ring-fenced time and team members need to know they are a safe environment, to be a success.
While it is heartening that 33% of practices often make process change after CPD, and 6% do this always. 39% will only sometimes see change and I feel very sad for the 21% practices where team members feel their CPD rarely or never makes a change to working practice or processes in their business. What a shame that the money and time for that CPD is wasted and the patients and team do not benefit.
Training-Progress offers an alternative. A simple way for team members to share their CPD learning with clinical decision-makers and the rest of their team. New knowledge can then be collated and discussed in QI meetings and as part of a regular protocol/guideline reviewing process.
Training-Progress has a number of features which make it an ideal tool for this.
Firstly, the general news feature, which allows team members to post interesting practice and personal news informally to all team members. Using this feature to post a précis of a CPD course would mean that your learning was available to all team members. Links to papers or fuller notes can be incorporated as hyperlinks.
Recommendations or suggestions for changes of process can be submitted to the clinical decision-maker via the ‘Help’ button, which is found on each task or element in the training programme.
There is even a report which allows the decision-maker to collate all the questions, suggestions and new learnings, which have been submitted via the ‘Help’ button, to use as a resource when they come to reviewing the element.
Training-Progress is a simple solution to ensure business get extra value from their team members’ CPD learning.