May 2020 Research Rounds

jennie barrows

Reconsidering the Place and Purpose of Formal Continuing Professional Development in the Maintenance of Competence

Jennie Barrows

Project Manager
Continuing Professional Development
Faculty of Medicine
The University of British Columbia

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 *Cancelled*

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm (feel free to bring a bagged lunch)


  • Life Sciences Centre 1312 CMR (host venue)
  • DHCC 2230
  • RJH CA 120
  • NHSC 9-374



Continuing professional development (CPD) activities are viewed as the cornerstone to maintaining competent, up to date practice in a range of professions. Practicing physicians, as well as a number of other healthcare professions, are required to demonstrate ongoing participation in a range of CPD activities. Those involved in designing and evaluating formal, structured CPD events are using an (often implicit) idealized model of CPD participation in which the practitioner starts by identifying gaps in their practice, then seeks CPD to address the identified gap. The practitioner participates in the CPD activity and subsequently improves their practice based on what was learned, thus closing the identified practice gap. Based on such a model, much of the CPD literature has raised doubts about the success and value of formal CPD approaches. In my presentation, I will explore family physicians’ descriptions of their CPD experiences. Drawing on my own research, as well as motivational theory, I will identify incompatibilities between the idealized CPD model regarding the purpose and practice of formal CPD and the ways in which clinicians in practice use formal CPD opportunities. As part of this, I will highlight the inherent strengths of formal CPD, and discuss how we might better leverage these strengths when designing and evaluating formal CPD.


In her role as a Project Manager for the Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Continuing Professional Development, Jennie oversees the design and development of a range of new CPD programs. Jennie completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Manchester in the UK and a Master of Arts in Human Development, Learning and Culture at the University of British Columbia. Jennie has broad experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of education programs in Canada and Europe, and uses her experience to guide the development of innovative education programs at UBC CPD. Jennie also conducts research examining novel approaches to CPD programming, and is particularly interested in examining the varied roles CPD plays for healthcare professionals, patients, and the broader healthcare system.

Accredited by UBC CPD



The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15 (1.5 per session) Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity.

RCPSC Accreditation

CHES Research Rounds is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.