Everything aesthetic practitioners need to know about CPD

The constantly evolving nature of the aesthetics industry requires medical professionals who are practising aesthetics to undergo regular training, in order to keep patients safe and deliver a high standard of care.

With the industry starting to take a much closer look at standards and qualifications, the need for practitioners to be able to demonstrate relevant knowledge and competence is going to become even greater. For example, in its 10 point plan, the JCCP has highlighted the need to require practitioners to undertake appropriate and regular continuing personal and professional development (CPPD) with an accredited training provider as part of annual insurance renewal. Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance remains at the forefront of championing suitably qualified and competent practitioners.

Whether you are an experienced and established aesthetic practitioner, or new to the field,  continued professional development (CPD) is key to supporting and developing your career. Here, Dr Kalpna Pindolia, head of medical education at aesthetic training provider Harley Academy, provides her top tips on CPD and explains why continued professional development is so important.

What is CPD?

CPD is an abbreviation of Continued Professional Development. It is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you to manage your own learning and growth over a continuous period. Dr Pindolia says, “With day-to-day medical practice, CPD usually revolves around educational tasks, with keeping your skills up to date being the main focus. However, in aesthetics, CPD gets really exciting as you can build tailored, bespoke CPD plans specifically for your own needs and context.”

When asked ‘why is CPD so important?’ Dr Pindolia says, “There are many training options for you to inject well, but it is also about your approach to aesthetic medicine. With the many unique challenges of aesthetic practice and ways of working, it is also about management, business skills and embedding ethics at the heart of your private practice. This approach ensures holistic learning and a good standard of practice for patients across the industry. It raises the bar for aesthetics as a whole, which is crucial for the future of aesthetic medicine.”

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  • Certification – ensure the training you take is fully insured and is compliant with the most up to date guidelines outlined by Health Education England and the General Medical Council. CPD accredited courses can be checked for CPD certification with the relevant provider
  • Documentation – medical regulatory bodies require collection of evidence of CPD as part of the appraisal and revalidation process. Be sure to log your CPD process using the relevant platform for your profession, for example the Physicians CPD app for doctors, the NMC website for nurses, or other online platforms like Clarity or Fourteen Fish
  • Identify priorities – when identifying your training priorities, think about your existing skills and experience, your customer needs and also how much time you are able to commit to CPD
  • Depth and breadth – when it comes to choosing the right training course, consider your skill level but also your interests. Ensure you undertake training covering a wide range of topics. Attending varied and balanced training not only increases your experience and skillset, but it is also more interesting and enjoyable
  • Know your limits – simply staying up to date is perfectly acceptable if you are not ready to advance in your clinical training
  • Quality vs quantity – the quality of the CPD you undertake is more valuable than the hours completed; shorter but more frequent bursts of training can often be more effective than longer sessions
  • Stay on track – keep a CPD log over time and update it regularly. Leaving it until the last minute before your appraisal can be stressful and unnecessary

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Who is CPD for?

CPD is mandatory for all medical professionals as part of their codes of conduct. Recommended CPD requirements for each profession are outlined by the relevant governing body. For example, doctors’ recommended CPD requirements are mandated by the General Medical Council, nurses’ by the Royal College of Nursing and dentists’ by the General Dental Council.

Whilst doctors and nurses need to submit their CPD learning documentation for assessment annually, dentists are only required to do this every five years as part of an Enhanced CPD scheme.

The Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) is campaigning for the Government to mandate specific qualifications, education and training requirements for all aesthetic practitioners as part of its 10 point plan. The JCCP stipulates that registrants must demonstrate a minimum of 50 hours of CPD learning per year.

Where do I access CPD training?

Dr Pindolia explains, “Most of your initial learning will be around anatomy, consultation and treatments. This depth is fine, just remember that breadth (a variety of CPD topics) is important too. Depending on what you are looking for, there are various places aesthetic practitioners can gain CPD points.” These include:

  • Training providers – providers such as Harley Academy offer facial aesthetics training, Botox and filler training and cosmetic dermatology courses to name a few, available both in person and remotely. In addition, practitioners can also access CPD-accredited articles online, covering the latest techniques and technology in aesthetics
  • Medical journals – useful for peer-reviewed articles; an easy way to search these and keep on top of the latest releases is to make a keyword search, such as “aesthetic medicine” or “dermal filler”, in Google Scholar. You can also subscribe to Google Alerts and specific journals’ newsletters which will tell you when relevant new research is published
  • Industry-centred publications – in addition to the educational content in trade magazines such as Aesthetics Journal, Aesthetic Medicine and Consulting Room, you can find a lot of interesting events, conferences, courses and webinars advertised here
  • Industry bodies’ websites – it is worth bookmarking the websites for the main bodies, including the General Medical Council, British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, the British Dental Journal and the JCCP to stay up to date with the latest regulations and training requirements depending on your specialist area
  • Comma (a social networking platform for the medical aesthetics community) – here you can take part in polls, education Q&As, webinars, read news articles and research information; you can also access the Comma Library where you can clock up a full complement of CPD points-worth of live treatment demonstrations

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What are the different types of CPD?

There is no nationally agreed framework for CPD in the aesthetics sector for practitioners, and the JCCP is working with UK CPD organisations and insurance companies such as Hamilton Fraser, to enhance the standard of ‘updated’ skills, knowledge and competence training provided and advertised to ensure that practitioners remain safe and ‘fit for purpose’.

“You can earn CPD points for anything that is considered education and can be shown to involve ‘active learning’. This has a wide scope of application from hands-on training courses and attending lectures or conferences, to watching a webinar or reading peer-reviewed research articles,” says Dr Pindolia.

Some examples include:

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CPD evolves with you

Dr Pindolia concludes, “The beauty of aesthetics is opening yourself up to new ideas and opportunities, reinforcing existing training and constantly adding to your knowledge bank in order to finesse your approach as a specialist.” She adds, “Remember, CPD evolves with you. Part of the cycle of CPD is self-evaluation – both from a personal and professional perspective. Reflect on your learning to inspire your next steps.”

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