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RCN FACTSHEET: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for nurses working in the United Kingdom (UK)

28 January 2016
Provides a brief overview of the current CPD system in the UK, the proposed changes to this model, different CPD types and how nurses can make sure that they meet the regulations surrounding CPD.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a vital part of a nurse’s career. It is a key enabler for improving patient outcomes and reflects the significance of, and esteem in which the nursing profession is held. It is critically important this trust is maintained and CPD is one tool for ensuring this.

This factsheet outlines the role of CPD and some of the key forms which it takes in the UK. It has been updated to reflect the imminent introduction of revalidation - a new system of regulation for nurses. Revalidation includes important requirements around CPD which nurses will need to observe in order to be able to continue to practise.

This factsheet also outlines some of the support structures available for nurses when it comes to CPD – including employer obligations and what the RCN can do to help nurses make the most of continuing learning opportunities.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email

Page last updated - 23/03/2017