Vet Nurse CPD, What Should I Consider When Selecting CPD?

29 April 2024 -

As a veterinary nurse, the first thing that I would ask myself when selecting a course for continuing professional development (CPD) is ‘what will I get out of it?’ It may seem like an obvious question, but choosing a CPD course is not just about selecting topics that you find interesting; it is also about considering the gaps in your knowledge and identifying areas for improvement. We have all been presented with a particular case, where we have felt out of depth and thought ‘I really wish I knew more about this.’ So, sometimes choices regarding CPD will be very personal, depending on your own experiences. 

However, over a period of time most veterinary nurses will develop specific areas of interest that they choose to focus on. These interests may change over time, influenced by various factors such as personal experiences, colleagues, place of work and career choices and opportunities. When looking for CPD courses, I try to choose topics that I find interesting, that I can learn from, and that will help make me a better veterinary nurse, whilst also contributing to my professional development and new career opportunities. 

The second thing that I would ask is ‘what’s the experience of the lecturer?’ Do they have additional qualifications in the discipline or subject they are teaching? Are they teaching about a topic that they have a lot of experience in? Attending a course where the lecturer can share their own experiences and offer tips and advice, in addition to discussing real-life case studies, will make a huge difference to your learning experience. 

Last but by no means least, the cost of CPD is incredibly important. The veterinary nursing professional surveys highlight that veterinary nurses want to see pay increases and more opportunities for CPD and career development. However, the cost of this CPD for career development has to be affordable in the face of struggles with pay and the cost of living.  

This is a good point to revert back to the original question, ‘what will I get out of it?’ Does the course provider provide different learning methods and opportunities, experienced and knowledgeable lecturers, continuous support and guidance, and assessments to reinforce learning? Do you receive recognition and certification at the end of it?  

Finally, is the cost of the course relative to the learning and qualification? If an employer believes it is and sees it as an investment, they may be more likely to contribute to the course cost. Investing in people is the best investment employers can make. By investing in you, you will likely be a better veterinary nurse, deliver better patient care within the practice, and share your newly learnt knowledge with others in the hospital. 

Ultimately, when we learn, develop and improve, we will provide better care to our patients. Learning gives me huge satisfaction and makes me a more confident and capable veterinary nurse. That’s why it has always been important, no, compulsory, for me to continue to learn and improve. 

Carly Seymour VTS (Anesthesia and Analgesia), DipAVN, CertVNECC, A1, RVN 

ISVPS Career Pathway Lead