What should be in hospital doctors' continuing professional development?

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OBJECTIVE: To ask those most affected by continuing professional development for senior doctors - patients, other professional groups and doctors themselves - what it needs to encompass.

DESIGN: The nominal group technique.

PARTICIPANTS: Six groups of between seven and nine members (n = 49). Separate groups were held for nurses and therapists (n = 9), patient representatives (n = 8), medical directors (n = 8), consultants (n = 8) and medical trainees (n = 7). An additional group consisted of 'Darzi Fellows' (n = 9), trainee doctors who were undertaking a leadership fellowship.

SETTING: Groups were held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Priorities for the content of continuing professional development for senior hospital doctors, ranked in order of importance. Themes derived from analysis of group discussions.

RESULTS: We present the ranked priorities of different groups for what should be included in continuing professional development for senior hospital doctors. Analysis of group discussions identified the following three themes: developing and supporting the system of care; changes in the way medicine is practised; and personal wellbeing and caring for colleagues.

CONCLUSIONS: The implication of our findings for providers of continuing professional development is to consider the balance of content. Doctors and other healthcare professionals need to keep up with scientific advances and technical developments. But in addition, they need to be adept at working with the system changes required for translation of research into practice, the development of new ways of working, and for the organisational changes that underpin continual quality and safety improvement.


  • Continuous professional development, doctor's morale and wellbeing, quality improvement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-77
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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