Never out of date


As a member of the RCVS you have to keep developing your skills and stay up do date with current knowledge in your area. You do this with CPD.


The CPD – Continuing Professional Development


As a member of the RCVS, you must maintain and develop the knowledge and skills relevant to your professional practice and competence, and comply with RCVS requirements on the Professional Development Phase (PDP) and continuing professional development (CPD).


CPD requirements mean veterinary surgeons are constantly learning.

If you are registered with the RCVS you need to fulfil a certain amount of hours of continuing education. This should be done in your area of interest but also in other areas important for your job (such as business skills). There is currently a new model being discussed. At the time of this post, the requirements for CPD are 105 hours over 3 years, which averages 35 hours per year. Many placements will provide you with a CPD allowance and in-house CPD.

You can register your CPD online on the RCVS Professional Development Record (PDR) or alternatively use the  RCVS CPD Record Card (paper record). You need to confirm that you have fulfilled your CPD requirements when you renew your membership.

PDP (Professional Development Phase)


If you are a new graduate or if you have less than one year of experience in practice you have to complete your PDP. This counts for your first year of CPD.


The PDP sets out Year One Competences and is registered online. It’s based on the number of cases seen, notes and case reports. You will have a Dean attributed to you that will monitor your progress and sign off your PDP when you are done. You also need a more senior colleague to sign off your application for completion of PDP.


Online PDP log.

This is what the online PDP log looks like. Note the number of cases, level of confidence and number of notes on this particular section of the PDP.


As you work towards building up your clinical experience and confidence, you should use the PDP database to keep a tally of your clinical cases, and make notes to show how your performance is improving, and to document your progress towards meeting the required professional competences. It should help to provide a focus for a continuing dialogue with your employer concerning your clinical and professional performance and your plans for future professional development. Reflecting on your performance and assessing yourself critically against a set of competences is an important part of your continuing professional development, and will help to prepare you for future study towards the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice and becoming an Advanced Practitioner in the years to come.


For the PDP, your own notes, reflections and your own progression are more important for its completion than the number of cases you see. But keep in mind that the PDP requires you to take responsibility for the cases… that means that you can’t finish your PDP if you’re only doing an internship!


We cover more information on CPD and PDP on our online course “Step-by-Step RCVS Registration”, since these are two requirements for the members of the RCVS.