The Continuing Professional Development for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals Working Within Musculoskeletal Services: A National UK Survey


Correspondence: Jo Adams, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Hants SO17 1BJ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)2380 595287; Fax: +44 (0)2380 595301.




To explore the current UK status of continuing professional development (CPD) for nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) working in musculoskeletal (MSK) services in the UK.


A web-based survey was developed and used to collect data from service managers, nurses and AHPs who work with people who have MSK conditions, recruited through professional interest groups via email and website notices. The questionnaire was designed following focus groups and telephone conference calls with managers and AHPs from MSK services to ensure content validity. Results were collected online and analysed in SPSS PASW 17 using frequency data and χ2 analyses.


A total of 354 responses were analysed. The most frequently reported reason for undertaking CPD was to improve patient care. The level of staff experience made no significant difference to the CPD activities undertaken. The majority of respondents reported that their organization was supportive of CPD activities and in applying new knowledge to practice, but lack of funding and having too many other tasks to complete at work were the most frequently reported barriers to CPD. Many commented about the difficulty in accessing CPD in the face of increasing workload pressure and tightened budgets.


The results indicate that despite the organizational support for CPD, respondents faced substantial challenges in accessing CPD when under pressure to achieve productivity targets, with little assistance in terms of funding. This discrepancy may indicate that greater support is required to meet MSK nurses' and AHPs' CPD needs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.