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Continuing professional development for registered nurses: an overview

Sonya Clarke First published: Last updated:


In the UK, all registered nurses practicing in clinical practice, education, research or management are required to undertake regular continuing professional development – also known as CPD – as this is central to the delivery of high quality, safe, effective and person-centred care. Actively engaging in continuing professional development can positively impact a nurse’s career progression and earning potential.

What is continuing professional development?

While there no single definition of continuing professional development, it is commonly described as a form of lifelong learning and professional skills development. In the context of direct patient care, its purpose is to help nurses maintain an updated skillset to ensure that they are able to care for patients safely and competently (Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 2016). Wray and Aleo (2021) defined continuing professional development as:

Systematic maintenance, improvement and continuous acquisition and/or reinforcement of the life-long knowledge, skills and

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Sonya Clarke

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