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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 forums and RCN forum facebook groups

RCN forums are networks based on an area or specialty of nursing, where members can share knowledge and influence nursing practice. Click here to see the full list of forums that you can join for free as part of your RCN membership.

Once you've joined a forum, you'll be able to access the forums' member only Facebook groups too, giving you a space to engage with your peers for discussion, advice and support, including discussing CPD opportunities, courses, qualifications or recommendations. 

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. We've got advice on networking here.


LinkedIn is a good place to network with your peers. Have a look at 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. 

Examples of courses and resources 

The list of links below is by no means exhaustive, but aims to give you some ideas and inspiration on where you might be able to find courses, training programmes, resources, events or online learning.

The RCN cannot verify the quality or content of courses, so please use care and judgment when using and selecting resources. The exception to this is where a resource has been officially accredited by the RCN.

E-magister - Search for health related courses

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.

OpenLearn by the Open University - Includes 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 - Training courses, professional development resources, competency frameworks, workshops and more.

Kidney Cancer UK - Includes a free online training programme, designed to provide nurses with a deeper understanding of kidney cancer and its treatment.

The British Heart Foundation - Clinical resources, CPD opportunities, learning and development, and more.

Parkinson's UK - Resources and details about courses and CPD modules. Includes free online learning resources.

Prostate Cancer UK - 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 

NMC template - CPD log

The NMC has produced this template to help you record all your CPD activities.

NMC resources for revalidation

Guidance and information, including examples of completed revalidation forms, revalidation templates and more

Examples of CPD activities (by NMC)

CPD isn't just about attending courses. You can meet your quota through coaching, audits, attending group meetings, peer review activities, clinical supervision and more.

RCN revalidation resources

Guidance, resources and useful links on revalidation, including tips on how to prepare, library guides and FAQs
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