Factors that optimise the impact of continuing professional development in nursing: A rapid evidence review

Rachel King, Bethany Taylor, Ashfaque Talpur, Carolyn Jackson, Kim Manley, Nichola Ashby, Angela Tod, Tony Ryan, Emily Wood, Michaela Senek, Steve Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Continuing professional development is essential for healthcare professionals to maintain and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to provide person centred, safe and effective care. This is particularly important in the rapidly changing healthcare context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite recognition of its importance in the United Kingdom, minimum required hours for re-registration, and related investment, have been small compared to other countries. The aim of this review is to understand the factors that optimise continuing professional development impact for learning, development and improvement in the workplace.

Design: A rapid evidence review was undertaken using Arksey and O'Malley's (2005) framework; identifying a research question, developing a search strategy, extracting, collating and summarising the findings.

Review methods: In addressing the question ‘What are the factors that enable or optimise CPD impact for learning, development and improvement in the workplace at the individual, team, organisation and system level?’ the British Nursing Index, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, HTA database, King's Fund Library, and Medline databases were searched for key terms. A total of 3790 papers were retrieved and 39 were included.

Results: Key factors to optimising the impact of nursing and inter-professional continuing development are; self-motivation, relevance to practice, preference for workplace learning, strong enabling leadership and a positive workplace culture. The findings reveal the interdependence of these important factors in optimising the impact of continuing professional development on person-centred care and outcomes.

Conclusion: In the current, rapidly changing, healthcare context it is important for educators and managers to understand the factors that enhance the impact of continuing professional development. It is crucial that attention is given to addressing all of the optimising factors in this review to enhance impact. Future studies should seek to measure the value of continuing professional development for people experiencing care, nurses and the wider organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104652
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date7 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Continuing professional development
  • Leadership
  • Learning
  • Nursing
  • Workplace culture

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