In the latest of our series, Asha Fowells charts her experience of the revalidation process and unplanned CPD entries

This month I turned my attention to unplanned CPD. I’ll own up to a vested interest: as the author of TM’s CPD module on depression, I drafted a template unplanned CPD entry to go alongside it. 

This is contentious, with some considering it spoonfeeding and taking away the reflective aspect of CPD, while others – myself included – regard it as providing pharmacy professionals with a steer in the right direction and therefore reassuring and confidence-building.

The logging process was pretty straightforward: go onto the myGPhC portal (giving thanks yet again for it requiring an email address and not registration number, followed by mental swearing as I try and remember my password), click on “revalidation” and then the plus symbol next to the “unplanned CPD” option in the “current submission” section. There were just three fields to complete: the record title, the activity or event that enabled me to learn something new or refresh my knowledge, and examples of how this has benefited the users of my services.

Had I been a “proper” pharmacist, by which I mean someone out there in the community who deals with patients and customers, and had I completed this month’s CPD module on depression, it would have been very easy to cut and paste from the template CPD entry. Then I would have simply made a few tweaks so that my log reflected what I had done in order to best meet the needs of those who come into my pharmacy.

As it was, I decided that my writing should imitate my life – and so wrote an unplanned CPD entry on… making an unplanned CPD entry. Bear with me here. As a writer, the users of my services are readers, so I have to make sure that when I put pen to paper, my copy is up to date, relevant and informative. Clearly, this means research is key, and it takes many forms, from reading page after page of a government policy or ploughing every tiny detail of a NICE guidance document, to sitting in a session at a conference or interviewing someone over the phone and asking questions about their work. Sometimes, however, there is no replacement for real-life experience, as I’ve been doing with this column, i.e. by logging an unplanned CPD entry, I can write about it knowledgeably. And that unplanned CPD entry is, like the subject of the film “Finding Nemo”, eponymous.

But I’ve digressed. Logging the entry was just as I’ve come to expect: fast and uncomplicated, while still causing me to think about what I’d done and why. Better still, I’m well on the way to completing the requisite number of records before I make my revalidation submission next month.

It also confirmed my belief that resources like template entries to accompany CPD modules are useful. Converting a big chunk of learning into a reflective snapshot doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so some suggested wording and bolt-on activities form a starting point. These materials are not designed to be used verbatim – and the GPhC would take a dim view of anyone who artlessly copies and pastes then presses submit – but instead to help people decide where they want to go next. It’s like doing a weekly food shop; far easier if you’ve got a list than walking into the supermarket and trying to decide on what you want to eat for the week.

So try it. The CPD module, the template entry and logging it on myGPhC.org. Make it easy for yourself.

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