GUIDE TO CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL
This guide is intended to provide Buteyko professionals (educators/instructors) with an understanding of continuing professional development (CPD) and its importance within the context of Buteyko.
The guide was prepared specifically for BPI members whose work is either: (a) entirely focussed on offering a Buteyko service to clients, or (b) mainly focused on offering a Buteyko service to clients. The guide is not intended for BPI members who incorporate some aspects of the Buteyko Breathing Method into their main professional area of practice e.g. physiotherapy, medicine, or dentistry. Such BPI members will almost certainly be required to engage in CPD by their professional body. The guide is also not intended for BPI members who are a member of a Buteyko professional body that requires its members to satisfy specified CPD requirements in order to maintain their professional membership.
As BPI is not a professional body, CPD is not a mandatory requirement for continuing membership of BPI. Therefore, this document serves only as a guide and planning tool for BPI members who wish to engage in CPD on a voluntary/non-compulsory basis.
All Buteyko professionals should make a continuing effort to update their knowledge and skills. By doing this, they will develop throughout their career, to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice effectively and safely. In many countries, such as the UK and Ireland, this is termed Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and in others, such as the United States and Australia, it is termed Continuing Education (CE). For the purposes of this document the acronym CPD will be used.
What is CPD for a Buteyko instructor/educator?
There are numerous definitions of CPD. One such definition is as follows: ‘CPD is the participation in a range of learning activities that are relevant to current or future practice. It is a continually reflective process that encourages you to learn from your experiences and implement this learning in your practice.’ CPD experiences should be recorded in a professional portfolio which can be used, for example, to share with others or drawn upon to produce or enhance a profile of yourself for your website.
Essentially, CPD is a commitment to professionalism in that it is a structured process to maintain, develop and enhance skills, knowledge and competence, both professionally and personally in order to improve your performance at work by making you more effective.
As a Buteyko instructor/educator, your CPD should consist of a range of learning activities that are relevant to your current or future Buteyko practice. Regularly participating in CPD activities will enable you to continue to learn and develop throughout your career. Your Buteyko skills and knowledge must be kept up to date to ensure that you are able to work effectively and safely. This is essential in order to maintain high levels of competence within your current scope of practice and enable you to competently expand your scope of practice. By engaging in CPD, Buteyko instructors/educators will benefit themselves, the service they offer their clients, and the health outcomes their clients experience.
The focus of CPD is firmly on results i.e. the benefits that CPD can bring to you and your clients in the real world. It’s very important to note that one size doesn’t fit all. Wherever you are in your Buteyko career now and whatever you want to achieve, the CPD you engage in should be tailored to YOUR training and development needs.
A key aspect of CPD is the concept of self-directed learning which involves individuals taking the initiative and responsibility to address their own learning needs. CPD involves more than attending courses, workshops or seminars. It can also occur through such activities as day to day experiences while working with clients, independent study of Buteyko relevant subjects, writing articles, critical reading of pertinent journal articles, books (or book chapters), journal clubs, peer discussions, research, writing reports, training individuals to become instructors/educators, teaching clients, business training, mentoring (either as mentor or mentee), service development, and critical incident analysis. Critical incidents are snapshots of something that happens to a client, their family or a Buteyko educator/instructor. It may be something positive, or it could be a situation where someone has suffered in some way. Reflection and analysis of critical incidents can be a valuable learning tool for Buteyko instructors/educators. The practice requires exploring your actions and feelings. It provides Buteyko instructors/educators with an opportunity to change their way of thinking and/or practising, for when we reflect on an incident, we can learn valuable lessons from what did and didn’t work.
Benefits of CPD
Among the benefits of CPD are the following:
- Building your confidence and your credibility – you can monitor your progress by tracking your learning.
- You can showcase your attainments (e.g. successfully completing a course or earning a certificate or diploma, or having an article published) in promotional literature or on your website.
- Becoming more effective and efficient by reflecting on your learning and identifying and filling gaps in your knowledge and experience.
The CPD process
BPI recommends a sequential 5 stage CPD process. These stages are:
Stage (1): Reviewing
The first stage requires the Buteyko instructor/educator to carry out a self-directed review of their knowledge, skills, performance and personal qualities in the context of their Buteyko professional role, whilst being mindful of their current and future practice. Such a review may be carried out in consultation with a trusted colleague or a mentor. Useful questions to ask (and answer) during the review are:
- Where are you now in relation to your Buteyko work/career?
- Where would you like to see yourself in one or two or three year’s time?
- How will you get there?
- What training, experience, development, or education will you need?
- What or who can help you with this?
- How will you be able to determine that you have achieved what you set out to achieve?
The outcome of the review should be the identification of your personal and professional learning needs and the identification of learning outcomes (what you want to know or be able to do when you have completed the learning activity) for each learning need. Learning needs can be prioritised so that some can be addressed within a shorter time span and others can be addressed within a longer time span.
Stage (2): Planning
The planning stage involves answering the question:
How am I going to address my learning and development needs?
The planning stage involves identifying learning activities that will address the learning needs and learning outcomes you identified in stage (1) i.e. the Reviewing stage. As in stage (1), the planning stage can be carried out on one’s own or in consultation with a trusted colleague or mentor. Your personal learning plan should be written or typed and kept on file for easy access.
Your personal learning plan should include the following headings for each identified learning need:
- Learning need description
- Appropriate learning activity
- Time span for chosen activity
- Desired learning outcome
A wide range of learning activities is appropriate for the purpose of CPD. Learning can result from attendance at structured formal events e.g. seminars or workshops, as well as unplanned incidents. Research indicates that individuals have preferred learning styles that will have an influence on how well they learn. It is important to be flexible and to plan your CPD in a way that suits your work, your learning needs, your preferred ways of learning, and the time and resources available to you. Your CPD activities should, as much as possible, be linked to your learning needs.
Stage (3): Implementation
This is the action stage i.e. when you put your personal learning plan into action and undertake your chosen learning activities. In that BPI is not a professional body, it does not have a stipulated mandatory requirement in terms of the number of hours of CPD activity that members should complete.
Deciding on the number of hours to be spent on CPD during each 12 month period is your responsibility. However, BPI recommends that BPI instructors/educators allocate at least 30 hours for CPD activities during each 12 month period.
Stage (4): Reflection
This is the stage where you reflect on your learning and ask yourself questions, such as:
- What have I learned?
- Did my chosen learning activities address the needs they were meant to address?
- What are the benefits to my clients as a result of me engaging in this CPD activity?
- Has the way I work changed as a result of me engaging in this CPD activity, and if so, in what way(s)?
- Has this CPD activity highlighted any other areas for further development?
Questions such as those above, are some of the questions you should ask yourself after each CPD activity. Reflecting on your CPD activities can help to increase the learning derived from the activity or experience. Such ‘reflective practice’ should also be beneficial in increasing self-motivation and self-directed learning and should lead to improvements in the delivery of your Buteyko service to clients.
Stage (5): Recording
Keeping a record of your plans, learning activities, outcomes, and the impact on your professional practice is important for a number of reasons. It will serve to reinforce your learning by directing your attention to desired outcomes, and the need to transfer your learning to your professional practice. Keeping such a record also demonstrates your commitment to keep up to date, and maintain and develop your knowledge and skills.
In the context of a professional body, members are often required to keep a CPD portfolio to maintain clear and accurate records of the CPD activities they have engaged in. This portfolio can be used by a member (if required to do so, by their professional body) to provide evidence of their undertaking of CPD activities and endeavouring to keep their knowledge, skills, and work effectiveness at a high level
I hope this guide has provided you with an understanding of the process of continuing professional development (CPD). I also hope that it has explained the importance of CPD in the context of facilitating you in becoming a more effective Buteyko instructor/educator.
BPI will do its best to assist you in your CPD by providing you with access to a wide range of learning materials. These will include the materials that can be accessed in the members’ section of the BCI/BPI website. You will also be directed to other learning resources that you may if you wish, access online, either free of charge or at a relatively low cost.
Buteyko Professionals International
19 November 2015