Tailoring CPD expansion to nurses’ needs

May / June 2018   Comments

Alongside the active expansion of its continuing professional development (CPD) program, CNA has launched accreditation services. These actions follow from the results of an online survey of nearly 1,400 respondents (largely RNs) and in-depth interviews with nurse leaders who have hiring authority and budgetary discretion for CPD.

In responding to questions on professional development, nurses said they have enough CPD options related to direct practice but would like more offerings in leadership, education skills and quality improvement that are geared to nursing and health care. They also want better access to CPD activities, noting the need for greater affordability, more convenient locations and flexible or on-demand scheduling.

Guiding nurses’ specific preferences is the limited time they can devote to CPD. For example, many said that knowing learning objectives upfront would be helpful, as this would help them avoid wasting time on the wrong activities. Having accredited activities would also be useful, they said, since it would tell them that offerings are current and meet the highest professional standards.

According to Lisa Ashley, CNA’s program lead for professional development, what the survey responses revealed is key to the scope and direction of this expansion. “This growth is also rooted,” she says, “in the association’s long history of providing credible domestic and international programs, including CNA certification, Progress in Practice webinars, public policy workshops, seminars in partnership with the Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute (DWHLI), and the SNNNAP initiative (supported by the Canadian International Development Agency).”

Ashley sees an even stronger need for CPD in the years ahead. “For many reasons,” she explains, “the time is right for CNA to broaden its evidence-based offerings in a way that supports nurses who want to advance their knowledge and add value to organizations, health systems and patient health. Today’s health-care environment demands that nurses adapt to ongoing changes across health systems, organizational structures and in models of care. When one considers this reality, along with budgetary pressures to demonstrate value for money, the need for high-level nursing and leadership skills is clear.”

Among the 2018 CPD initiatives CNA will have a role in directing are a four-day residential leadership program in Toronto (with DWHLI); quality improvement workshops (with coaching and mentoring) in Whitehorse, Halifax and Winnipeg; and conflict resolution workshops in Ottawa and Winnipeg. “Over the coming weeks,” Ashley says, “we will have completed 10 self-directed e‑learning modules on CNA’s Code of Ethics, with new content on violence in the workplace. By year-end, we’ll have a collection of resources, including textbooks and e‑learning modules, to support our certification exam writers.” As of the end of May, CNA had presented nearly a dozen English and French webinars and conducted a one-day leadership workshop in Regina.

As part of this expansion, CNA is offering new accreditation services to help nurses identify top-quality professional development programs and give external and partner organizations the opportunity to earn national recognition through CNA for their CPD activities. All CNA-accredited programs go through a rigorous quality assessment to ensure they meet the highest standards. Nurses will receive professional development credits for completing eligible e‑learning modules and workshops. “CNA is also considering a similar process of providing credits for reading select Canadian Nurse articles,” Ashley says.

“With these developments, CNA is seeking to cultivate and sustain excellence in nursing. Based on what nurses have told us, we are going to offer accessible programs in multiple formats, locations and time slots. We want to become one of the go-to CPD sources for Canada’s nurses.”

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