Progress your career

Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) assists you to maintain and enhance your competence and professional practice. It can help you to progress through your career and achieve your goals. To be the most powerful, CPD is cyclical: it is planned, and once you have completed and recorded your CPD activities, you reflect on them. Your reflection then feeds into your next lot of planning, and the cycle continues.



Planning your CPD enables you to take control of your professional development and gives you greater control over your professional career. It allows you to identify where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. Develop your Professional Development Plan, ensure that any formal activities meet PNZ's Guidelines for formal professional development and include a Professional Relationship (e.g., peer review, supervision and/or mentoring) in your plan to assist you to develop and enhance your professional practice and well-being.


Undertake the CPD activities that you have planned.


Record your CPD activities (for example, in your log book) as you participate in them and save supporting evidence. This helps you to keep track of the CPD you have engaged in, and provides evidence of this


Reflecting on your CPD activities and professional practice helps you to maximise your learning. It may help you to identify 'deeper' learning, how to integrate your new learning into practice, and your next learning steps.

Planning Your CPD

A Professional Development Plan or PDP is a tool that will assist you to meet your learning needs and career goals. Once you have developed your PDP, it will guide your selection of continuing professional development, and will enable you to prioritise what CPD to engage in.

The process of developing your PDP involves reflecting on, and considering:

  • Where you are now in your career, and where you want to go
  • What areas of practice you would like to strengthen
  • What your short and long term goals are
  • What ongoing learning you will need in order to meet your goals
  • What resources and time will be required

When you are setting your goals, it might be useful to make them SMART (S-specific, M-measurable, A-achievable, R-relevant and T-time-bound). This will help with planning, and in future, evaluation.

A PDP will support your application for an Annual Practicing Certificate from the Physiotherapy Board, and in some cases, is required. When completed, a PDP can also be a useful document for annual employment reviews to show evidence of your achievements, learning and meeting goals.

More information is available on the Physiotherapy Board website.

Selecting Which CPD to Attend

It is important that the CPD you attend is of high quality, so that your time and money is well spent. PNZ has developed a set of best practice guidelines for formal professional development to help you select high quality CPD.

The guidelines are a quality assurance tool that will help you to evaluate the quality of CPD activities before selecting which activity to attend. They are also useful for providers of CPD activities to determine and enhance the quality of their provision.


To learn from experiences, you must reflect on them. When you reflect, you explore an experience, which allows you to learn from it. The experience may be from any aspect of your practice (e.g., clinical, teaching, management, or research).

Reflection is an important skill to assist you to develop and grow through your professional life. It is a valuable tool that you can use throughout your career as you engage in lifelong learning. You may also be required to show evidence of reflection.

There are many models of reflection. The Physiotherapy Board currently suggests that you reflect using these three questions:

  1. What happened? What did you do?
  2. What did you learn from this experience?
    Could this have been handled differently?
    How did you influence the experience (e.g., through your behaviour, knowledge, thinking, or emotions)
  3. How did this experience influence your practice?

PNZ also has further information and guidance to help you develop your reflection skills. View these resources here.

Reflection can be private or shared. It can be carried out by yourself or with others. It is most effective as a learning tool when it is personal and honest. It is about reaching a better understanding, not about passing or failing, or worrying about being judged. It is inevitable that reflection that is comprehensive, honest, and performed regularly, will enhance your practice.

Reflective practice, and being a reflective practitioner, involves engaging in reflection in an ongoing way, and applying your resulting learning to improve your practice. As such, reflection features strongly through the Physiotherapy thresholds in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (available from the Physiotherapy Board ) and is an integral part of key competency 4 (Reflective practitioner and self-directed learner). Written reflective statements are also required for recertification audits by the Physiotherapy Board.

References used on this page.

Page updated August 2021

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