'We need to continually question' : paediatrician

Date published:
26 Feb 2019

Medical Board of Australia (MBA) changes to how Fellows undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are set to come into effect over the next few years. The RACP is preparing Fellows for these changes by updating its MyCPD Framework from 2019, to reflect the direction the MBA is heading with its changes.

As the new MyCPD Framework comes into effect, Fellows incorporating the changes into their practice and lifestyles speak to us about their approaches to CPD.

“Professional development has a number of aspects and is integrated into what we do every day,” says Dr Rosemary Marks, a Developmental Paediatrician at the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

“We need to engage in activities that truly develop our professionalism, rather than selecting activities which will meet ‘compliance’ needs.

“My husband is a Financial Adviser; he comments that the financial advice sector is compliance dominated – ‘a tick-box exercise’.

“If people go to a conference just to get CPD credits, this seems to me like the CPD equivalent of “do you want fries with that”. I have been involved in organising meetings where the question has been asked – how many CPD credits can we claim!”

Dr Marks says all professionals need to develop a range of qualities, including knowledge, skills, strategic thinking, problem solving, efficient processes and – above all – communication skills that are respectful and appropriate to the person communicated with.

She answered our CPD questions below.

Why is CPD important to you?

CPD is important to me because I want to be the best developmental paediatrician that I can be.

How have patients benefited from you undertaking CPD activities?

My approach to coeliac disease in children with Down syndrome has evolved over years through CPD activities

Many years ago I was part of a group that developed a best practice guideline for the health care of children with Down syndrome in New Zealand. We recommended coeliac antibody screening every two years.

Later I attended a Starship Update given by a visiting Scandinavian expert and learnt about the genetic markers for coeliac disease. I started checking the genetic markers during preschool years with the plan of avoiding blood tests for antibody markers if these were not necessary

Around that time we had a research fellow review our patient population to look at whether we were adhering to the guideline on coeliac antibody screening; we also searched for children who had presented directly to the paediatric gastroenterology service

Patients have benefited by improving our approach to screening and early recognition of coeliac disease, and improved understanding of management in the light of advancing knowledge

What are some of the CPD activities you choose to do and why?

Peer review is very valuable. Our team set up regular peer review several years ago. Each team member presents the clinic letter on either a randomly selected patient from a recent clinic, or a patient for whom we want to seek the experience of other team members in addressing a complex or challenging problem.

Recently, a new team member has set up an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) peer review session. We review videos of actual assessments and discuss variation in scoring the assessment items

How do you meaningfully plan your CPD activities?

With difficulty! I have a plan in my head. I am not good at committing the plan to paper. This year I have focused on developing cultural competence and have started learning Te Reo. I make a point of trying to greet patients and their family/whanau in Te Reo

Why is reviewing performance and measuring outcomes important?

We need to continually question whether we are ‘getting it right’. We need to look at how we can work smarter, and not do low-value activities that are not helpful to patients.

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