arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word youtube-icon

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.

Where to look for CPD and courses

With so many health related courses out there, it can be hard to know where to start looking. When choosing a course, always do your homework with regards to the quality of the course content and the reputation of the provider.

RCN accredited courses, events and conferences 

The RCN has a list of accredited courses, events and conferences. The RCN are not always the direct providers of these activities, but the provider will have been accredited by the college for following comprehensive educational principles.

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.

Your local University

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

Your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or health board

Check the website of your local CCG / health board, or contact them directly to enquire about study days, courses, training and events.

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 

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.

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

Advice from peers / networking

Speak to other healthcare professionals to share information about courses, resources and any other useful information. 

Examples of CPD and courses

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 CPD and courses:

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

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

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

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), speak with your local university (or a university of your choice) to find out if they offer admission through the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) route. 

APL is where you'd be credited for learning that you have already done in your previous course(s). Depending on the individual circumstances, how much relevant experience you have, and your APL application, you may only be required to study for as little as a year.

The university will not usually arrange placements for you, meaning you will need to have the support of your employer. If you are not employed, speak to the university directly for further advice.

Second registration midwifery courses

Second registration midwifery programmes are also provided through some universities with a nursing and midwifery department. You can look Again, speak to universities directly. 

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 and Wales see 

For Scotland see 

for Northern Ireland see