Monday, 9 February 2015

Continuing professional development

Close up of yellow stamens in a red flower
Peckover House, August 2014
It's blimmin' cold. This is, of course, not unusual in the winter, but it's always at February time that I start to get impatient for better weather. It may be that the house - Victorian, no cavity walls - gently cools so that the heating becomes less effective as winter progresses, but I tend to wear thermals or a duvet if I'm going to be indoors and stationary for any length of time - like when I'm constructing these blog posts, for example.

I have been keeping myself busy with a lot of curricular and extra-curricular activities. I went to a very interesting meeting one evening about the new guidelines on treatment of Type 1 Diabetes that are due to be published this year by NICE. It is fairly esoteric and a bit technical; I thought about summarising the changes for the blog but it really would be of interest to only a very few, so I summarised the changes for my colleagues who weren't at the meeting instead.

This sort of thing is very useful for my professional registration. Every two years, 5% of registrants (i.e. practising Dietitians) are selected for audit of their competence to practice. This is based on evidence of activity during the previous two years that demonstrates that they have kept up to date with best practice through continuing professional development (CPD). Attending meetings is one of the activities that count, but it helps if you can demonstrate that you have reflected on the things you learned and applied them to your practice. Just attending isn't enough.

I am a bit obsessive about my CPD portfolio. I cut out articles from professional magazines, print blog posts, include copies of diet sheets that I have worked on - I assume that pretty much everything that I do could be deemed as evidence of CPD. They are very keen on reflection, so every so often I will consider something that has happened within consultations, and write a short reflective piece: "What happened? So what? What next?" Some of those Dietitians selected for audit have to piece together two years of CPD from looking at their diary and working it out from scratch, which is time consuming and hard work. If I am selected, I'm hoping it won't be too much effort to construct my account of the evidence that's needed.

I digress. One lovely bit of CPD is my DESMOND educator accreditation. As mentioned in the last blog post, I have now had my first Mentor visit, which involved being observed in two sessions, one about activity and the other about food and cardiovascular risk (fats and calories). The observer provided some really good constructive advice that I couldn't have worked out on my own - for example, I was aiming for open questions but kept starting with "Do you know...?" or "Does anyone know...?" which are actually closed questions masquerading as open questions. Very interesting, and I hadn't spotted that I was doing it until it was pointed out. The next phase ends with a final assessment at the end of March, if I can get things together that quickly.

Aside from work, I spent a weekend watching badminton in Crawley - the English National competition. Nowhere near as mind-blowingly good as the international competition that takes place annually in Birmingham, but I left it too late to buy tickets for the internationals and there weren't any good seats left. I booked a cheap last minute room in a very posh hotel and was very unimpressed when the TV didn't work, so they switched me to a room where the TV was fine but the heating didn't work, and when I complained again they supplied a convection heater. On the positive side, they had a little fitness room and I did my first ever run on a treadmill, which was much easier than running outside, so I ran further and for longer than ever before.

I spent Sunday at the falconry centre, helping them to get ready to open to the public again - I applied teak oil to wooden benches and moved large rocks for a few hours. And as I still have a few minutes in my life that aren't full of work, badminton or running, a friend tried to persuade me to join a clarinet choir ("It's only once a month...") I dithered, but remembering that I'd thoroughly enjoyed the workshop that Lola II persuaded me to join, I gave in and signed up. It was good fun; I was by no means the worst despite having played so little over the past 30 years, and... it's only once a month...

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