Vision Rehabilitation Workers required to complete Continued Professional Development
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
From January 2017, the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network (RWPN) is launching a formal continuing professional development scheme.
All members of the RWPN, the professional body for Vision Rehabilitation Workers, will be required to undertake 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) per year. Simon Labbett, Vision Rehab Worker and Chair of the RWPN, talks about what this will mean for people in the profession.
Over the Christmas break I read a blog on NB Online written by the tech guru Robin Christopherson. The blog was about how mobility apps can help blind and partially sighted people live more independently. Aside from the fact it was highly informative and taught me a thing or two about the latest developments in assistive technology, much of what Robin was discussing would be useful for me to pass onto my clients too.
Any nurse, Occupational Therapist, Orthoptist, Ophthalmologist or Optometrist reading this may be surprised (and possibly alarmed) to learn that, unlike them, Vision Rehabilitation Workers haven't had to demonstrate that they continue to learn after they qualify. In theory, this means that I, or any other Vision Rehabilitation Worker, could happily sail through their working life never having to attend a course or think about changing the way they do their job.
What will the CPD cover?
As part of the new scheme, all members of the RWNP will need to keep a record of the CPD they complete and be prepared to produce documentation for validation purposes. There will be five core areas which Vision Rehabilitation Workers should be mindful of covering:
•Orientation and Mobility
•Independent/Daily living skills
•Communication skills (including ICT)
Why is CPD important?
The prime reason for any learning after qualifying is to ensure the people we work with are safe from harm when we work with them. Some aspects of vision rehabilitation are inherently hazardous. Failure to keep on top of the game can have serious consequences, not just for the client. Those consequences may rest at the feet of the employer and the individual when something goes wrong, so it is in everyone’s interest that we change the way we operate as a profession to be the best we can all possibly be.
What counts as CPD?
Looking at it much more positively, most of us really enjoy learning about new things because, typically, we are curious people working in a fascinating profession and CPD doesn’t have to mean hours spent pouring over dense textbooks and tests. From now on, I may well count on similar NB Online gems like Robin’s technology blog, as part of my CPD. In truth, just reading a blog simply doesn't count as CPD alone, but what does matter is what I do with the information once I’ve read it. As long as I can document clearly what was new to me from reading and how I will put that into practice in my working life, then that really is CPD.