CPD: CURSE or BLESSING?

By Dr Carl Balita, EdD, DrHum, MAN, RN,RM,LPT

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is good, essential and legal. A law has been passed and professionals are duty-bound to comply. But are we happy about how it is forced into our lives as professionals? Professionals are inherently obliged to develop and grow but WHEN SUCH BECOMES A MANDATORY OBLIGATION and NOT A DESIRED PERSONAL INITIATIVE, IT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE.

CPD impementation lacks REASON and LOGIC, and lack consideration of the many realities that professionals (especially the unemployed, undereemployed, overseas, from remote places, etc) have in our times. PRC and the Regulatory Board may actually even lack the available resources to execute it efficiently as it adds up to the already overburdened PRC tasks as evidenced by long queues and long waiting hours for usual daily transactions. The professionals are at a lost – even the leaders I am sure are – if not divided. In this information age, only a few knows for sure how it really works – and WHY CPD matters.

Here are some issues i wish to raise because i AM DESPERATE to bring about CHANGE and i hope that this will AMPLIFY the concerns of the many professionals. Correct me if I am wrong. Educate me if i don’t know. Call me stupid if you think I am. But please see my perspective, which is not mine alone but I share with the many who share their situations with me. YES I WANT TO POPULARIZE THIS CAUSE – for the authorities to LISTEN and DO SOMETHING.

1) CPD is OPEN and VULNERABLE to abuse and exploitation. I need not prove but many exploitative entrepreneurs have jumped into it for PROFIT. (my company and I decided not to engage into it as i dont see it as a fair business venture). I am not saying I wont – but I say that at this point when NO clear guidelines for implementation are set, it is unfair to exploit the desperate needs of the professionals for CPD units when even the legislators behind it is not clear about how it should be implemented. Proof? There is an ongoing Senate hearing about it.

2) PNA has launched an ONLINE delivery program with ICN (note, International Council of Nurses) since the month of May with the hope to serve its members with units at almost negligible cost wherever they are, anytime (like overseas or in far flung areas). PNA got the help of benefactors to raise the needed P1M fund and these benefactors are NOT into the business of it (that i even signed an undertaking that I just want an ROI and any income I will donate to PNA), we just want to HELP. YET the PNA is having a hardtime getting the approval of our Honorable Regulatory Board for the latter’s strict adherence to the usual and traditional requirements and processes. There is also an assertion that the allowable units from online should be limited to 10units/renewal, which will still require the nurses to look for 35 units from TRADITIONAL sources like the EXPENSIVE seminars. WHY? Are we doubting quality of what is already internationally recognized by no less than our ICN? Are we not open to the fact that learning can happen virtually? Are we not considerate of the unavailability of accessible and affordable (and practical) programs for thousands of nurses in far-flung areas and overseas, including the unemployed and underemployed? Are they not convinced that the modern age can achieve lifelong learning through virtual platforms as they are utilized and trusted even by advanced countries with obviously high standards for quality?

3) Who UNDERSTANDS these guidelines and policies? Of course THEY do! Because they created it. But what efforts have they done to communicate these to all of us? Of course OUR ignorance is NOT an excuse! But what initiatives have they done to COMMUNICATE these to US, effectively? IN THE FIRST PLACE, HAVE THEY REALLY CLARIFIED MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION – a message they need to COMMUNICATE? DO THEY HAVE A CLEAR MESSAGE? DO THEY HAVE THE INTENTION AND RESOURCES TO INFORM US – once and for all.

4) Is the CPD Council (or the Regulatory Bodies, and PRC) capable of managing these CPD accreditations and recognitions processes? I attend national events with announcement of “CPD Units APPLIED.” What if their application is denied? Will the CPD provider refund? What administrative supports are extended to the BON or the CPD Council to actually manage the influx of the applications as providers and as programs? I hear that it takes months for a program to get an approval. Is the PRC ready to really manage the CPD affairs of the professionals? If they are ready, why are there events (national, at that) with “CPD applied” status during the conduct of the event? This is over and above the usual role of PRC in licensure exams and other related transactions.

5) Is there an intention to REGULATE the price of the CPD sources – like seminars and convention? Are there FREE sources? Accessible sources? Relevant sources? Should the organizations have FREE units for their members? i heard that some have started.

6) For professionals who are employed and are certainly undergoing trainings and constant retraining, are they not professionally developing and that they still need to attend these seminars and conventions?

7) Cant we trust the same autonomy we accorded the professionals to decide their CPD sources that they feel is needed by their practice instead of a regulatory body burdened by such tedious accrediation and recognition pocesses? Quality assurance and regulation is one but Practicality and Reality is another!

In the context of gobalization and modernization, we need to upgrade and develop as professionals so we can catch up with the times. But we need the professionals to see it as an essential element of their practice rather than as a “curse” that it appears to many today:

C-ompliance-driven obligation instead of personal and professional initiatives
U-nscrupulous money making ventures to some enterprising companies and organizations.
R-egulatory processes rather than developmental and supportive
S-ources are limited in remote areas
E-xpensive undertakings that drain pockets of the many underpaid professionals.

Can CPD be a BLESSING instead?

B-uilt upon technology that can deliver learning using modern platforms
L-ifelong learning directed that is based on personal portfolio and trusted on its face value rather than regulatory frameworks
E-mpowerment to organizations and institutions of learning such that they are trusted to deliver CPD instead of being reigned as if they dont know the needs of their members and clientele
S-ourced from wide variety of sources that need not be ‘accredited’ provided there is evidence of learning as chosen by the autonomous professionals
S-ervice of the organizations to their menbers such that their members may avail CPD for free or minimal costs instead of the expensive abusive sources
I-nstitutions that employ be trusted on their obligation to train and retrain people inherent in their Human Resource Development programs.
N-ot an expensive burden to professionals who are actually underpaid in many settings in the Philippines
G-iving the professionals the autonomy (inherent upon their privilege) to choose and direct themselves using sources widely available.

CURSE or BLESSING?
Choose!

I am sorry but we need to speak out about this! (By Dr. Carl Balita)

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