Keeping up to date
The aim of this chapter is to outline the importance of continuing professional development (CPD), the aspects of clinical practice which should receive special attention in CPD, and possible arrangements for planning, accessing and recording CPD activities.
Having read this chapter, members of the dental team should better understand the need for CPD, and be able to use CPD activities to keep up to date, both individually and collectively.
The rate of introduction of new technologies, procedures and treatment in dentistry is set to increase. If innovations in clinical practice since the mid to late 1990s have been impressive, the prediction is that these will pale into insignificance given anticipated, developments, let alone unexpected developments, in the next 10 to 15 years. Such prospects make the future of dentistry exciting and dynamic, but it emphasises the increasing importance of CPD for all members of the dental team. It has long been recognised that members of the dental team need to be lifelong learners to keep up to date – students for life – both to learn new things and to maintain essential skills and knowledge. Indeed, an increasing number of licensing and regulatory dental bodies around the world require dental personnel to be actively engaged in CPD as part of relicensing requirements. Healthcare CPD is widely accepted to be important for the protection of patients and for further development of the healthcare professions, including dentistry. In dentistry, certain aspects of CPD are increasingly viewed as compulsory. For example, the General Dental Council in the UK requires, in addition to CPD relevant to specific areas of practice, CPD in the so-called core subjects: medical emergencies, disinfection and decontamination, radiography and radiation protection. Members of the dental team participating in postgraduate or postqualification training may need to check with their licensing or regulatory body as to whether their studies count towards CPD requirements.
All members of the dental team should be lifelong learners.
Notwithstanding the requirements of licensing and regulatory bodies, it should be considered a professional responsibility to maintain essential skills and knowledge and to keep abreast of developments in clinical practice to best serve the needs of patients. Furthermore, keeping up to date and being familiar with developments in clinical practice can greatly add to professional fulfilment. For example, it should be very rewarding to the dental team to be able to restore an edentulous gap efficiently and effecti/>