Professional Development

There are different ways for nurses to develop their knowledge and skills in palliative care. Web based learning modules, short courses and specialist palliative care courses and training are offered in many organisations and universities. As part of national registration it is now mandatory for all nurses to do 20 hours of PD a year and keep a log / list of these. 'Every year as registered nurses apply for registration renewal, they accept responsibility and accountability for participation in CPD undertaken as adult learners, as a declaration that their practice is current, safe and competent' . [1]

Ongoing professional development can take many forms, including:

  • pursuing formal education
  • attending study days or short courses
  • developing in-service lectures
  • writing papers for publication
  • reflective diaries [2]
  • completing online learning modules 
  • case studies [2]
  • attending annual competency updates
  • critically analysing a journal article, and
  • critical incident analysis. [2]

Nurses are also usually required to update themselves in relation to their nursing role, such as annual competency updates (eg, manual handling or CPR). There are, however, barriers which exist to nurses’ pursuing CPD which include: cost, getting time off work, childcare and home responsibilities. [3] This has given rise to the utilisation of online self-directed learning resources and packages.

  1. James A, Francis K. Mandatory continuing professional education: what is the prognosis? Collegian. 2011;18(3):131-6.
  2. Mills J, Professional portfolios and Australian registered nurses’ requirements for licensure: Developing an essential tool. Nurs Health Sci. 2009 Jun;11(2):206-10.
  3. Schweitzer DJ, Krassa TJ. Deterrents to nurses' participation in continuing professional development: an integrative literature review. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2010 Oct;41(10):441-7; quiz 448-9. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

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Last updated 31 January 2017