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Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Importance of Continuous Professional Development in the Nursing Profession as an Important Component for High Quality Practice

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Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Importance of Continuous Professional Development in the Nursing Profession as an Important Component for High Quality Practice


Continuous Professional Development (CPD) refers to the purposeful development of maintenance and improvement skills and knowledge in order to remain competent in a particular profession of nursing. This effort ensures the skilled and talented nurses, patients, and clients as well as colleges benefit through commitment. They are also required to keep up to date while seeking improvement in a continuous and persistent approach guarantee success. Continuous Professional Development was therefore developed to encourage, improve, and enhance persons sustaining the nursing profession. It prompts them to reflect on the nursing practice by assessing and analyzing quality of nursing services and practices. This further provides the nurses with an opportunity to identify enhanced practices and approaches they can adopt and embrace in order to develop and improved ways of providing high quality and fulfilling results. There are various key principles fueling Continuous Professional Development including evaluation of individual development and self-direction, learning patients’ needs as they are identified, linking nurses’ learning practices, and building on their knowledge, skills, and experiences (NMA 5).

Continuous Professional Development can therefore lead to the following developments. Foremost, it ensures members of the nursing profession are skilled and equipped to deliver high quality nursing care practices and services. This guarantees the nurses can keep up with the pace of health care developments affecting and influencing the nursing profession. Consequently, unique knowledge and skilled are required in order for the nursing profession to function effectively and efficiently while changing and expanding consumer demands, increasing needs, and diverse expectations (James 16).

 As a result, all registered individuals within the nursing and health care profession are obliged to maintain their competent skills, talents, and qualifications. This ensures continuous improvements with regards to qualities and standards of services provided through the nursing profession are achieved and sustained. Thus, Continuous Professional Development helps in increasing the quality of care of patients as it relies on evidence-based guidelines before implementing changes seeking to achieve successful positive changes in the profession (ANANNSDO 12).


There are various activities involved in Continuous Professional Development in order to increase the quality of nursing and essentially health care. According to NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, the activities are neither compulsory nor prescribed. More so, they lack particular restrictions on the number or types of activities to be included through Continuous Professional Development to enhance the nursing profession. However, the nursing profession should ensure patients’ needs, wants, desires, and expectations are fulfilled satisfactorily. The nurses should therefore embrace relevant nursing practices fulfilling the diverse individual needs a nurse ought to address (Linda 17).

The association therefore discovered that, keeping a nursing practice journal and setting time to reflect on it could increase the quality of nursing and health care professions. A researcher with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) found out that, nurses should undertake supervised nursing practices in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. Consequently, they should participate in clinical audits, as it is a critical area within health care sector to monitor and review an individual’s efforts towards improving the profession. This activity should be trailed by the actions undertaken by group discussion teams in order to participate in improving and expanding the profession (ICN 4).

This however requires development of skills in communication, problem solving, teamwork, numeracy and Information Technology. These skills are vital as they equip nurses with writing and reviewing skills utilized in reading extensive journals and books on various approaches to enhance the nursing profession. Consequently, they can be empowered to formulate and implement policies, guidelines, and protocols directed towards improving the nursing profession. Although Continuous Professional Development programs are not required to be provided by accredited organizations, as they should be undertaken in a wide range of ways, they should be relevant to the nursing profession with regards to delivery of nursing practices and services. Nurses with Continuous Professional Development are also required to make new statements on an annual basis after renewing the registration. This prompts small audits to be committed randomly for a period of at least three years. As a result, the errors and issues identified through the audits hindering delivery of quality nursing care should be addressed and resolved immediately (Lucero, Lake and Aiken 2189).

Approaches to Enhance Patient Outcomes

Continuous Professional Development is reflected on the quality of care through various approaches. These approaches include delivery of safe nursing services while improving current health care practices. They also involve evidence-based materials indicating and verifying that, patients’ demand and ought to receive high quality nursing care. Accredited and non-accredited nursing activities provide diverse values within the profession as they strive to meet the different patient needs in an ongoing professional development process. Thus, Continuous Professional Development requires individuals in the profession to evaluate day to day practices in order to highlight areas of interest demanding quality improvement or facing limitations impeding standards of services being delivered (Kliger, Lacey, Olney, Cox and O’Neil 113).

Continuous Professional Development can also be achieved based on a plan developed by optometrists. Optometrists assert that, the first step in utilizing Continuous Professional Development to enhance quality of care should involve considering areas of nursing profession that require improvements. For example, midwifery areas can require the individuals to acquire enhanced skills and knowledge in order to reduce child mortality rates (NMA 5). Consequently, optometrists confirm that, gaps identified in clinical and non-clinical areas categorizing competencies can be applied to achieve and sustain Continuous Professional Development. This further prompts identification and specialization of particular topics of interest. For example, nursing practices undertaken to care for the elderly members of the community should be classified differently. This is because the elderly require unique, intense, and special nursing services (IAESB 13). Thus, Continuous Professional Development can ensure nursing profession broadens knowledge, competence, expertise, and personal qualities reviewing how to identify the needs among the elderly. This can encourage the nurses to plan and participate in ensuring relevant nursing activities are deployed reflecting on the needs identified in order to enhance quality of nursing care provided to elderly members of the community (Bruce 23).

The Continuous Professional Development accreditation status should also formulate and implement activities and practices ensuring quality health care providers including nurses acquire quality education in order to enhance their abilities, qualifications, expertise, skills, and experiences (ANCC 5).

The location, time, and date of a particular nursing activity should also be identified and provided in order for individuals within the nursing profession to access the schedules. This will ensure individuals are keen in keeping time and being competent in their activities. It will also ensure individuals within the nursing profession provide quality care, as they have to avoid patients filing complaints for negligence, poor quality of health care services, or malpractice. More this, this can encourage health care providers and practitioners to interact, discuss, formulate and implement measures ensuring quality of services being delivered improve (Kamlesh, Nina, Kate, Amanda, Rebecca, and Heather 2).

The Effects of Extra Knowledge on the Quality of Care

Delivery of quality care requires identifying various factors influencing the process in order to formulate and implement measures complementing and enhancing the healthcare profession. According to Sharon Arnold, engaging consumers and community members plays a vital role in improving quality of care being provided. This is because consumers, patients and members of the community discuss their opinions, ideas, and expectation allied to delivery of quality of care. They provide the health care profession with the right information as they demand for quality care. Consequently, the individuals within the profession should utilize the information and extra knowledge to choose types of treatment options provided to the consumers. They should also use the extra knowledge to identify practices ensuring they actively participate in managing patients’ health care needs effectively and efficiently. Consumers can also provide viable alternative options of providing quality health care practices and services (Sharon 4).

The individuals in the profession should however conduct further research to acquire knowledgeable insights regarding the alternative options. This can guarantee that, utilizing the alternative options of providing quality care will neither be a complex and incompetent process impeding professional individuals to enhance and improve qualities of health care. Ultimately, they have to ensure they have the right tools, equipment and adequate information to pursue and strive to meet consumers’ needs, wants, desires, and expectations with regards to quality care (Moore, Green and Gallis 11)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), capacity building is a tool that can enhance quality of care. This involves paying close attention to peoples’ needs. However, it also involves identifying various factors influencing the manner in which people seek quality care and expect to receive it. This is because people from diverse backgrounds rely on different ethical values, cultural principles and lifetime philosophies influencing their life choices and decisions affecting patients’ outcomes. However, relying on national regulations encouraging Continuous Professional Development to enhance nursing professional education can resolve these constrains and restrictions. This is because a nurse can explain to a patient facing conflictions due to religious or cultural constrains to receive a particular type of treatment and seek repentance after full recovery. This will ensure the nurse does not disrespect the patient’s religious and cultural beliefs. It will also guarantee the patient receives quality healthcare services hence, improving and prolonging his/her lifespan (WHO 27).

The International Policies Encouraging CPD in Nursing

The American Nurses Association, Association for Nursing Professional Development, and Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions have formulated and implemented policies encouraging Continuous Professional Development. The policies seek to enhance nursing competencies in the country in order for healthcare providers to deliver quality services. With regards to international policies, nurse educators globally have also formulated policies they belief can enhance nursing profession through Continuous Professional Development. They believe high quality educational activities designed to enhance the nursing practice and patients’ outcomes across complex and diverse healthcare settings should be implemented through Continuous Professional Development programs. For example, the International Council of Nursing (ICN) focuses on healthcare disparities on a global platform to identify strategies including Continuous Professional Development that can enhance the nursing profession. International Council of Nursing (ICN) also collaborates with World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure families, people, and groups across global communities receive improved and quality healthcare services. They also ensure the nursing practices deliver quality care services competently. More so, individuals within the nursing profession should be cultural and religious sensitive to ensure they respect and uphold factors promoting diversity across global communities (ANCC 6).

According to Marianne Jeffreys, ignoring diversity cannot encourage delivery of quality care in culturally sensitive global communities. This is because it encourages delivery of incongruent nursing care jeopardizing patients’ safety hence, adversely affecting patients’ outcomes. As a result, pursuing Continuous Professional Development should rely on the need to sustain competency. This is because it ensures multidimensional and proactive ethics are sustained in providing ongoing caring services that can be trusted to enhance quality of patients’ care and outcomes. More so, Continuous Professional Development ensures educated, confident and ethical nursing personnel assess and evaluate networking elements promoting Continuous Professional Development and enhancing quality of care (Marianne 41).

Thus, international policies encouraging Continuous Professional Development affirm the following. Foremost, Continuous Professional Development should involve face-to-face activities providing clinical competencies through interactions using group and peer discussions. These activities can be accessed in seminars, conferences, journal clubs, case reviews, webinars, workshops, and peer-learning groups. Independent learning clinical activities allied to Continuous Professional Development should also be provided individually at any time without direct interactions with peer groups. Consequently, academic clinical activities should be pursued by individuals involved in the process of teaching optometry using peer-reviewed journals. Lastly, non-clinical activities supporting Continuous Professional Development should provide the learners with legal and cultural orientations skills. They should also provide the learners with business management and occupational health and safety standards. These standards are crucial in ensuring that, an individual pursuing a Continuous Professional Development program qualifies in delivery of quality nursing services while improving patients’ outcomes. Consequently, they qualify to monitor and assess managerial and development plans implemented to make appropriate healthcare decisions and choices (NAS 12).

Challenges Faced during Continuous Professional Development

There are various challenges that face Continuous Professional Development. They impede efforts undertaken to enhance quality of health care provided to patients. These challenges include inadequate financial resources. Continuous Professional Development activities are undertaken in a range of ways such as workplace based programs, seminars, self-directed programs, conferences, and formal as well as informal programs. However, all these programs require financial backup in order to purchase educational materials that are required to provide participants with the necessary skills. In order to address this challenge, participants should be required to pay for the program (Hammick, Freeth, Koppel, Reeves and Barr 742)

The controllers of the programs should also seek sponsorship from corporate and governmental agencies in order to combine with the registration fees. Alternatively, they should seek for funding from major national and international health care organizations as well as banking institutions including World Health Organization (WHO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the country.  Shortage of staffs especially when healthcare providers enroll in a Continuous Professional Development program impedes delivery of quality care. As a result, health care institutions and facilities should develop a plan ensuring staffs enrolled to Continuous Professional Development programs are able to identify an individual to cover undertake responsibilities on their behalf (Samardzic, Doorn, Wijngaarden and Van 187)

Lack of technological competency also hinders delivery of quality care. The nursing profession relies on various machines and equipment within a healthcare facility to provide patients with quality services enhancing their health conditions. For example, a nurse should have technological knowledge required to operate a machine measuring blood pressure. However, a technologically savvy nurse can enroll for a Continuous Professional Development program. Consequently, they can appoint a nurse without technological competency to undertake responsibilities on their behalf (IECEP 38). This translates to delivery of poor and inadequate nursing services as the nurse lacks technological skills to handle and utilize equipment and machines crucial in fulfilling patients’ health care needs. As a result, the Continuous Professional Development program will either be canceled or suspended temporarily (Aiken, Cimiotti, Sloane, Smith and Neff 1051).

Sometimes pursuing Continuous Professional Development can lead to the available nurses being overworked hence overwhelmed. Overworked personnel should be remunerated equally and fairly depending on their dedication in the profession. However, overworking does not necessarily translate to additional payments. Thus, overworked and underpaid staffs with qualified Continuous Professional Development programs do not feel valued, appreciated, motivated, and encouraged to continue utilizing their high quality competent skills to provide quality care. As a result, they can result to slack-off as they deliver nursing services. Such forms of incompetency are capable of leading to malpractices, medical negligence and errors which can result to death of patients. They can also lead to medical suits against the healthcare facility due to delivery of poor and dangerous health care services (Reeves, Zwarenstein, Goldman, Barr, Freeth, Hammick and Koppel 57).

Thus, health care facilities and practitioners should ensure that, seeking Continuous Professional Development should neither interfere nor diminish the quality of care provided to patients.  Instead, the process of pursuing Continuous Professional Development should be utilized to assess and evaluate professional skills in order to determine individuals who actually should enroll for the programs. The process should also provide an opportunity to improve processes and activities undertaken in delivery of quality care (Goldman, Zwarenstein, Bhattacharyya and Reeves 153).


Continuous Professional Development purposes in achieving, maintaining, and improving professional; skills, knowledge, levels of expertise, and experiences in order to remain relevantly competent in the chosen profession. Thus, nursing profession requires Continuous Professional Development in order for health care providers to deliver competent and high quality services. This involves engaging in a continuous learning process to enhance personal and professional skills, knowledge, and competencies that are modern and updated in order to improve and enhance delivery of quality care. The health care profession should be managed by individuals with the will and desire to personally and professionally benefit in providing patients and clients with quality care. For example, practicing nurses should be registered as competent and talented individuals with skills to provide various clinical and nonclinical health care services including midwifery services (Janet, Christopher, Geoff, Daniel and Alma 37).

However, they should participate in formal and informal programs enhancing their knowledge and skills crucial in delivery of quality care. Formal programs provide them with competent professional skills through educational materials, books and journal materials. These materials offer them with communication, numeracy and information technology skills vital in achieving and sustaining Continuous Professional Development. They also enhance their problem solving skills and team work spirits which are vital in ensuring quality care is delivered by professionally skilled individuals working individually or in groups. Informal programs educate health care providers and practitioners to focus on factors influencing the profession. For example, cultural and religious restrictions can restrict nursing practices as people respect the guiding principles and values ensuring they are respected members of a community. Through Continuous Professional Development, quality care can be offered amidst religious and cultural constrains to patients willing to improve their health conditions and prolong the lifespan. Ultimately, Continuous Professional Development seeks to deliver quality care in order to improve living standards, prolong life spans among community members and identify advanced health care practices improving the healthcare systems and sectors.


Works Cited

Aiken,             Linda, Cimiotti Jeannie, Sloane Douglas, Smith Linda and Neff, Donna. Effects of Nurse Staffing and Nurse Education on Patient Deaths in Hospitals with Different Nurse Work Environments. Medical Care Journal, 49(12), 1047 – 53, 2011. Print.

American Nurses Association and National Nursing Staff Development Organization (ANANNSDO). Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice. Silver Spring, MD: Nurses-Books Organization, 2010. Print.

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Importance of Evaluating the Impact of Continuing Nursing Education on Outcomes: Professional Nursing Practice and Patient Care. American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation, 2014. Print.

Bruce, Keogh. Review into the Quality of Care and Treatment Provided by 14 Hospital Trusts in England. Overview Report, 2013. Print.

Goldman, Joanne, Zwarenstein Merrick, Bhattacharyya Onil, and Reeves Scott. Improving the Clarity of the Inter-professional Field: Implications for Research and Continuing Inter-professional Education. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 29(3), 151 – 156, 2009. Print.

Hammick, Marilyn, Freeth Dela, Koppel, Ivan, Reeves Scott, and Barr Hugh. A Best-Evidence Systematic Review of Inter-Professional Education. Best-Evidence based Medical Review Guide, 29(9), 735 – 751, 2007. Print.

International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB). Approaches to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Measurement. International Accounting Education Standards Board Information Paper, 2008. Print.

International Council of Nurses (ICN). Nursing and Midwifery Education: Continuing Professional Development. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, 2013. Print.

Inter-professional Education Collaborative Expert Panel (IECEP). Core Competencies for Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice: Report of an Expert Panel. Washington, D.C.: Inter-Professional Education Collaborative, 2011. Print.

James, Kempton. To Teach, To Learn More Effective Continuous Professional Development for Teachers. A Center-Forum Review, 2013. Print.

Janet, Goodall, Christopher Day, Geoff Lindsay, Daniel Muijs, and Alma Harris. Evaluating the Impact of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). University of Warwick, Research Report, 2006. Print.

Kamlesh, Giri, Nina Frankel, Kate Tulenko, Amanda Puckett, Rebecca Bailey, and Heather Ross. Keeping Up to Date: Continuing Professional Development for Health Workers in Developing Countries. Intra-Health International Technical Brief, 2012. Print.

Kliger, Julie, Lacey Susan, Olney Adrienne, Cox Karen, and O’Neil Edward. Nurse-Driven Programs to Improve Patient Outcomes. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 40(3), 109 – 114, 2010. Print.

Linda, Smith. Approaches to Continuing Professional Development for the Special Librarian in the Internet Age. University of Illinois. Print.

Lucero, Robert, Lake Eileen, and Aiken Linda. Nursing Care Quality and Adverse Events in US Hospitals. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(15/16), 2185 – 95, 2010. Print.

Marianne, Jeffreys. Dynamics of Diversity: Becoming Better Nurses through Diversity Awareness. City University of New York, 2008. Print.

Moore, Donald, Green Joseph and Gallis Harry. A. Achieving Desired Results and Improved Outcomes: Integrating Planning and Assessment throughout Learning Activities. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 29(1), 1 – 15, 2009. Print.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Re-Designing Continuing Education in the Health Professions: International Comparison of Continuing Education and Continuing Professional Development. National Academy of Sciences Report, 2010. Print.

Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NMA). Guide to Continuing Professional Development. NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Report, 2014. Print.

Reeves, Scott, Zwarenstein Merrick, Goldman Joanne, Barr Hugh, Freeth Della, Hammick Marilyn, and Koppel Ivan. Inter-Professional Education: Effects on Professional Practice and Health Care Outcomes. Professional Practice and Health Care Review, 2009. Print.

Samardzic, Buljac, Doorn Dekker-van, Wijngaarden Van, and Van Wijk. Interventions to Improve Team Effectiveness: A Systematic Review. Health Policy Review, 94, 183 – 195, 2010. Print.

Sharon, Arnold. Improving Quality Health Care: The Role of Consumer Engagement. Robert Wood Johnsons Foundation, Academy Health Issue Brief, 2007. Print.

World Health Organization (WHO). Quality of Care: A Process for Making Strategic Choices in Health Systems. World Health Organization Publications.

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