Professional Development for Doctors

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Professional Development for Doctors 2017-05-30T11:30:50+00:00
An important part of your role as a GP will be continuous professional development (CPD). The problem is professional development for doctors can be challenging. Doctors are often pressed for time and put a high value on the free time they do get. Over the course of a year, if you are a Fellow of RACGP, you’ll be required to complete at least 130 CPD points. You can exceed this, of course, but you must meet this minimum to continue practising.

These CPD points are usually gained via external training, which may take the form of formal education, site visits, conferences, online courses or case studies. Any combination of these is permissible. The main thing to remember is that CPD should help you with your understanding of your role as well as improve your knowledge and capabilities. Here is more detail on each category of CPD:

Self-directed learning

This is any relevant study or research you have pursued in your own time. Through self-directed learning you can hone your skills by keeping up to date with the medical industry via journals, forums and networks. This category is capped at 20 points per year.


Effective, interesting training can now be accessed online. This is particularly helpful if you are located somewhere rural or remote, without easy access to training providers or facilities. RACGP has a number of options for this, as does ACRRM. Check them out for up-to-date information.

Conferences & face-to-face training

Most Regional Training Providers (RTPs) will offer a comprehensive calendar of events and collaborative programs to help you continue your development and maintain your skills as a GP. Take a look at some of the upcoming events on the GPTQ calendar.

Clinical assessment

A great option for CPD, and one that helps you and your patients, is to have your clinic audited. If you run your own practice, these are easy to organise and participate in and can result in a great dialogue between you and your auditor. You might find out about new equipment, procedures or practices within the industry that you can use to better help your patients.

You may already have your own support network of friends, family and colleagues. This is a fantastic base upon which to build a robust professional network to help you grow and mature as a GP, regardless of how long you have been practicing.

You can access a host of member organisations devoted to just this on the GPTQ website. Depending on your area of expertise, location and professional needs, you’ll find an organisation that suits.

The RACGP publishes a definitive list of standards for general practices to follow. These standards cover every facet of running a successful general practice and can be found on the RACGP website. As outlined below, these practices cover everything from patient confidentiality to staffing and human resources, equipment and quality of care.

  • Practice services: Access to care, patient and practice information, health promotion, diagnosis management, continuity and coordination of care and maintaining health records
  • Rights and needs of patients: Feedback and respectful and culturally appropriate care
  • Safety, quality improvement: Quality improvement and education and training of you and your staff
  • Practice management: Systems, human resources and confidentiality
  • Physical factors: Ease of access, equipment and medicines and vaccines

Understanding and adhering to these standards should be inherent to your day-to-day practice, and talking about them with your patients can give them further peace of mind and confidence in your care.

In addition to these standards, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publishes guidelines for many aspects of clinical practice. These guidelines are developed by teams of specialists who follow a nine-step, evidence-based process. The NHMRC urges people to use discretion when applying their guidelines and takes no responsibility for any liability caused. However, these guidelines can still be a great source of information for you about the standards of your profession, especially when you’re just starting out.