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CPD and Searching for courses

As a healthcare professional, you have a duty to keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date through a continuous process of learning and reflection. 

This could be achieved via self-directed learning, courses, study days, workshops, events and conferences, shadowing, studying, or volunteering.

NMC examples of participatory CPD activities

Participatory CPD isn't only about attending courses or study days; there are all sorts of ways you can meet your 20 hour quota for participatory CPD. The NMC has produced this guidance sheet to give you some ideas of both participatory and non participatory CPD activities. 

RCN events and conferences 

Find out about forthcoming workshops, lectures, ceremonies and conferences here

RCN accredited resources 

Click here for a list of resources (e.g. events, training, courses, workshops, e-learning, etc.) that have been accredited by the RCN for following comprehensive educational principles. 

The internet

You can search for courses and training providers online. When choosing a resource, always do your homework with regards to the quality of the content and the reputation of the provider.

RCN facebook forums and groups

Most of the RCN forums have closed facebook groups, where RCN members can reach out to their peers and fellow members for discussion, advice and support, including discussing CPD opportunities, courses, qualifications or recommendations. 

Advanced Nurse Practitioner Forum  Cancer and Breast Care Forum Children and Young People Forums Continence Care Forum 
Critical Care / In-Flight Nursing Forum  Defence Nursing Forum District Nursing Forum Education Forum 
eHealth Forum  ENT - Maxillofacial Nursing Forum Fertility Nursing Forum Forensic Nursing Forum
Gastrointestinal Nursing Forum General Practice Forum  Justice and Forensic Health Care Forum Learning Disability Nursing Forum
Mental Health Forum  Midwifery Forum Neuroscience Forum  Older People's Forum
Ophthalmic Nursing Forum  Pain and Palliative Care Forum Perioperative Forum
Public Health Forum
Rheumatology Nursing Forum  Women's Health Forum  

Advice from peers / networking

Speak to other healthcare professionals in your area or workplace to share information about courses, CPD, resources and any other useful information.


LinkedIn is a good place to network and to see which courses or training other healthcare professionals have done.

Your employer or agency

If you're employed, ask your manager or visit your employer's website / internal intranet for details about workshops, study days and training opportunities.

If you're doing agency work, then your agency may have details about courses and training or be able to recommend providers.

Your local University

Look at your local university’s website or contact them directly for information about study days, short courses, and qualifications relevant for healthcare professionals.

They may be able to offer you individual modules or units that usually form part of a diploma or degree programme, or give you general advice on how they might be able to meet your learning needs.

Your local RCN branch

Select your local country or region from the list to find out the contact details for your local RCN branch, and enquire about local CPD opportunities and events.

Most branches organise CPD activities that you can attend for free, or look at putting together future training / learning activities if there is enough interest.

They can also put you in touch with local RCN learning reps.

Health related charities 

A lot of health related charities offer training, ranging from online training to practical workshops. Some charities may offer to come out to a workplace to deliver training to a group.

If you volunteer for a charity, free training will often be provided. See the list further down for some examples. 

RCN forums 

The RCN has more than 30 forums made up of members from different nursing specialties. Forum members work together to share knowledge and ideas, influence policy, network with others and gain clarity on issues. 

Sign up for free today at  

Examples of free resources 

The list of links below is by no means exhaustive, but aims to give you ideas and inspiration on where you might be able to find courses:

E-magister - Health related courses. (E.g. medication administration and record keeping.)

Future Learn - Free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations 

Future learn Nursing Collection - Free nursing courses online, looking at the latest research and advice on patient care.

Open University free online courses. (Filter by category “health, sports and psychology.”) 

The Education for Health website - Short courses on asthma and diabetes and also courses relevant to practice nurses 

Sexual Health Charity FPA (Family Planning Assocication) - Training courses and resources for healthcare professionals

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV - Training courses and events.

Specialist health protection learning and professional development activities are provided by Public Health England (PHE)

Diabetes UK - Courses, resources and competency frameworks 

Kidney Cancer UK - offers a nurse training programme free-of-charge for all nurses and healthcare professionals with an interest in the care and treatment of kidney cancer patients 

The British Heart Foundation - Resources and information about course providers, training, support, etc

Education and training - Parkinson's UK - Resources as well as a course directory from Parkinson's UK and others across the UK 

Prostate cancer - Face to face courses, online courses, funding and resources

Regional resources

RCN events in Wales - All the latest events happening in Wales

RCN events in Scotland - All the latest events happening in Scotland

RCN events in Northern Ireland - All the latest events happening in Northern Ireland

RCN events in England - All the latest events happening in England. (Click 'regional' to filter by location)

Second registration / Dual registration

If you’re a nurse and wish to register in a second field of nursing (adult, child, learning disability or mental health), then you should speak with your local university (or a university of your choice) for more details.

Different universities have different processes regarding this, but depending on the circumstances, you may only be required to study for as little as a year.

Second registration midwifery courses

Second registration midwifery programmes are also provided through some universities with a nursing and midwifery department. Speak to universities directly for more information and advice. 

Top-up degrees

If you have a diploma in nursing but want to "top-up," to degree level, then you should speak directly with universities for further advice.

Some universities offer specific nursing top-up degree courses. In other cases the university can advise you on gathering modules in order to build upon existing qualifications and obtain degree level. Each university may have different rules and options, so it's advisable to speak to several if possible.

Enrolled nurses wishing to top up should also speak directly to universities to explore possible options.

Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL)

Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL) is a process by which you can gain credit(s) towards another qualification, meaning you could complete the programme in a shorter amount of time and avoid having to revisit any learning you've already acquired.

APL can be:

  • Certificated (APCL) - Where credit is given for previous learning which has been formally assessed, and for which a certificate has been awarded
  • Experiential (APEL) - Where credit is given for knowledge and skills which have been developed through experience, e.g. work, voluntary, self directed study. 

Each university will have different rules and processes regarding APL so it's best to contact them directly for further advice, and to see if you'd be eligible to apply. 

Return to Practice

For a list of approved Return to Practice (RTP) programmes, see approved programmes on the NMC website. (Select "return to practice," in the course field.)

Your local education and training board may also have information about RTP opportunities in your area. 

For England see 

For Wales see  

For Scotland see 

for Northern Ireland see 

CPD activities

Examples of CPD activities (by NMC)

CPD isn't just about attending courses. You could meet your 20 hours of particpatory learning quota through coaching, clinical audits, attending group meetings, peer review activities, clinical supervision and more.