Continuing Professional Development

Continual Professional Development (CPD) can be defined as “the conscious updating of professional knowledge and the improvement of professional competence throughout a person's working life. It is a commitment to being professional, keeping up to date and continuously seeking to improve.” (The Chartered Institute of Professional Development, 2000).

With the rapidly increasing rate of medical knowledge and technological change, continual effort to remain up to date and learning is essential. One big advantage of the internet is the vast array of learning opportunities this provides clinicians, anytime day or night. You can now watch a lecture or access an online learning programme developed by world experts with just a few clicks.

Options include: 


Online LearningStar

It is now easier than ever to do any update or training course from the comfort of your own home, anytime of day or night. Some of the NZ based online learning providers include:, an excellent vocational training platform for New Zealand health practitioners provided by the Ministry of Health. Other key organisations in NZ include the Goodfellow Unit. The following table provides a list of courses. Most are free.

  Topic           Organisation         Notes                   
Alcohol - ABCs  Learn onLine (NZ) ABC Alcohol

This is a course for health practitioners, and is designed to raise awareness of alcohol-related harm in NZ, and promote the ABC Alcohol approach
Antenatal & Newborn Screening National Screening Unit and Learn on Line (NZ)
This course will help you demonstrate a sound understanding of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme (UNHSEIP) and is designed to allow newborn hearing screeners fulfil their annual assessment of competency exercise.
Breast Feeding NZ Breast Feeding Authority
Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Management - Improve Heart Health Plan Heart Foundation NZ For doctors, nurses and other health professionals providing CVD risk assessments.
Child Health - Shaken Baby Prevention Programme Learn onLine NZ
CPD for Nurses CPD for Nurses Wide range of topics from constipation to iv fluids for nursing needing CPD points. Courses cost approximately $19.95 for a 2 hour course.
Dermatology  range of topics Dermnet NZ Wide range of topics and formats mostly aimed for doctors
Dermatology - A-Z of clinical guidance and more Primary Care Dermatology Society Wide range resources for GPs and others interested in dermatology
EMS - Prioritisation Tool Learn onLine NZ
This is a training package on the Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) Prioritisation Tool. It introduces the background and purpose of the Prioritisation Tool, and gives EMS Assessors an opportunity to see it in action and practise using it.
Heart Failure Support Heart Foundation NZ & Learn onLine NZ
This course will help you to build a foundation of knowledge and practical skills that will enable you to more confidently and effectively support people with chronic heart failure and their families/whānau.
Hepatitis C Learning Programme Learn onLine NZ Hepatitis C Learning Resources
Immunisation Learn onLine & Ministry of Health Versions for midwives, childbirth educators & undergraduate nurses
Infection Prevention & Control  Learn onLine NZ Primary care staff through to residential care providers
LEAN Thinking for health settings Learn onLine NZ This course introduces the LEAN methodology and a number of associated tools to implement the methodology in your health related work environment.
Maori Health Learn onLine NZ These training modules are designed to assist District Health Board (DHB)and Iwi Relationship Board (IRB) members in their health governance roles.
Open Disclosure Health Quality & Safety Commission Open disclosure is the approach to take with patients and their family or support people if something goes wrong with a patient’s care. Would you feel confident knowing what to do or what to say? This course highlights the key things to think about as part of the open disclosure process.
Patient data & monitoring patient flow For all DHB staff who deal with Patient Data for Elective surgery from clerical staff and managers to data analysts
Pregnancy and Alcohol Prevention Toolkit Ako Aotearoa:
New Zealand's National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence
"This resource aims to improve health professional’s consultation confidence and competence to optimise the implementation of the Ministry of Health’s practical guide on alcohol and pregnancy." Collaborative project between Alcohol Healthwatch and the University of Otago, funded by the Ministry of Health.
Pressure Ulcers Victoria Government Pressure Ulcer Basics is an online education program developed for use by all clinical staff. The package is composed of three modules:

  • Module 1 – Understanding Pressure Ulcers
  • Module 2 – Risk Assessment
  • Module 3 – Developing a Prevention Management Plan
Serious Event Review Health Quality & Safety Commission Serious event review is the action to take when something has gone seriously wrong with a patient’s care and you need to investigate why to prevent it happening again. This course highlights the key things to think about as part of the serious event review process.
Smoking Cessation Training Heart Foundation NZ
Weight Management Ministry of Health This Weight Management FAB E-learning module is developed for healthcare professionals to give an overview of the New Zealand Clinical Weight Management Guidelines and how to engage with patients about their weight and the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Other Topics & Online Providers

Goodfellow Unit (CPE) – The Goodfellow Unit is linked to the Department of General Practice and Primary Healthcare, University of Auckland and has developed a range of useful resources for supporting GPs and nurses with ongoing education and professional development.

Goodfellow Club – NZ based CME for GPs, nurses and physiotherapists. Earn CME points any time, day or night, by completing a range of case studies, quizzes and topic updates. Joining is free.

BMJ Learning - is the world's largest independent online learning service for health professionals. Developed by the British Medical Journal Group, there are over 300 learning modules, a range of case studies and evidence-based resources.

Global Health e-Learning Centre - Wide range of free online programmes. While aimed particularly for developing countries, there is a wide range of topics and resources ranging from antenatal care, neonatal care, immunization and much more through to data quality and economic evaluation basics. View courses and programmes

Online CoursesThis is a great site that combines the best free and open courses for students and professionals from over 500 universities and colleges around the world including courses from Yale, MIT, Stanford, Harvard.  Topics range from biology and accounting to foreign languages, and web design. Health-related topics include multiple lectures and courses within pharmacology, psychology, medicine, nursing, microbiology, etc and healthcare.

OpenMed - Global Resources Shared. Another site with excellent range of links and courses

Research Review - a local independent medical publisher producing 48 different reviews of research papers from global journals with opinions from NZ experts available to all NZ health professionals - endorsed by the RNZCGP for GPs to claim CPD points.

Video Channel

Tell us about others - Help us expand this section by notifying us of any other useful sources. More...


Short Courses

These range from smoking cessation or nutrition training through to cognitive-behaviour therapy and brief interventions training. Too numerous to list, here are just a few key courses & organisations to get you started:

  • Asthma & COPD Courses
  • Chronic or Long-Term Conditions - Flinders Programme - 2 day training in chronic disease self management and the Flinders tools for structured long-term condition management. Ideal for use with Care Plus and other long-term conditions programmes ... more...
  • Cardiovascular risk assessment & Smoking Cessation - National Heart Foundation courses (Free)
  • Cultural Competencey Training Programme
    • The free online training tool - the Foundation Course in Cultural Competency – provides a basic understanding of cultural competency and health literacy.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Training
    • Wide range of resources, face to face and online courses developed by Waitemata DHB to establish cultural competence and support and enable cultural and language appropriate interactions with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) patients
  • Diabetes - range of courses listed by Aotearoa College of Diabetes Nurses
  • Flinders Programme
    • 2 day training in chronic disease self-management, care planning and behaviour change techniques. Excellent for anyone doing chronic care, Care Plus, etc. more.
  • Medical Protection - The Essential Risk Management Workshop Series. The workshops in the series have been accredited by all the New Zealand and Australasian Colleges. Check here for more details. The workshops are free to MPS members as a benefit to membership. For more information and bookings, click here.
    • Mastering your risk - This workshop - the first in the series of risk management workshops - provides a thorough grounding in the issues surrounding risk management and introduces practical and preventive techniques that improve communication skills and patient satisfaction.
    • Mastering adverse outcomes - The second workshop in the series provides powerful and proven communication techniques to deal with patients after something has gone wrong. Using clinical scenarios and the MPS A.S.S.I.S.T© model for handling adverse outcomes, this workshop gives participants the confidence to deal with this most challenging of clinical situations.
    • Mastering professional interactions - Poor doctor-patient communication has long been identified as a major cause of complaints and litigation. However, doctor-doctor communication is increasingly being identified as a significant source of risk to patients and doctors. This workshop explores the nature of these risks, including patient referrals, clinical handover and disagreements amongst doctors, and examines strategies and models to overcome these risks.
    • Mastering difficult interactions with patients - Working in healthcare often means having to deal with very challenging interactions and difficult situations, so it’s not surprising that doctors report that dealing with such interactions is one of their biggest workplace challenges. This workshop explores the causes of difficult interactions and provides techniques to effectively handle these situations.
    • Mastering shared decision making - Patient dissatisfaction with the decision making process about their treatment options can increase the risk of complaints or claims against a doctor. This workshop shows how the shared decision making model is an effective way to ensure that patients make appropriate and informed choices about the treatment options available to them.
  • Mental Health -
    •  Introduction to Child and Adolescent Mental Health - This free, online resource is designed to serve as an introduction to the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary when working in child and adolescent mental health in New Zealand. It is made up of a series of four sequential courses:
      • Developmental Considerations
      • Engagement Strategies
      • Assessment Strategies
      • Interventions
      • Upon completion of all four courses the participant will receive a ‘Certificate of Achievement’.
      • Who is it for: This resource will be used by practitioners who have recently started working in the area, including Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Cultural Workers, Psychology Interns and others. Read more...
  • Palliative Care - Auckland (Mercy Hospice) - Palmerston North (Arohanui Hospice) Wellington (Mary Potter Hospice) Conferences and post-graduate courses (Hospice NZ) Genesis Oncology Trust/Hospice NZ Monthly Teleconference Lecture Series 2012
  • PHARMAC Seminar Series – interesting seminars (1 day) throughout the year
  • Smoking Cessation - e-Learning Tool – interactive web-based programme for registered health providers in NZ to review the ABC approach to smoking cessation. Funded by Ministry of Health.
  • Stanford Chronic Disease Self--Management Programme - leader and Trainer training. Contact us for details of upcoming workshops.
  • Women's Health - range of courses through Family Planning
  • Wound Care - Monash University - range of short courses through to post graduate diploma and Masters.
  • MORE - Contact your local DHB or PHO

Postgraduate Study - Long-Term Conditions & All Health Related Courses

Have you ever thought about completing a short course, special interest paper, post-graduate certificate or diploma?

The options are extensive with most universities, unitecs and nursing schools offering various courses. Here are just a few with a focus on prevention or long-term conditions to give you some ideas.

Post-Graduate Studies - by profession

Lectures - Topics A-Z

Lecture Topics A - Z - see separate section

Goodfellow Symposium - conference presentations -  2012,  2013 for attendees


Podcasting is a digital recording of a presentation, radio broadcast or other recording that is made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player or a computer. The great advantage of podcasts is being able to listen presentations, radio shows and more whenever you want - whether it's while out walking, driving to and from work or working out.

To listen to Podcast feeds on your computer, you need to download Podcasting software. There are many free or commercial podcasting applications available for download such as iTunes, Juice, Doppler, SmartFeed.

Examples of health-related podcasts include:

Reference Resources


Free Medical Books 4 Doctors is a excellent resource with a large range of medical textbooks for free.

Dermatology - The Electronic Textbook of Dermatology, The Internet Dermatology Society 199-2000

Ophthalmology Textbook

OphthoBook by Dr Timothy Root -  full chapters can be viewed and downloaded for free. Accompanying powerpoints and videos to help explain chapters. (Highly recommended by students and residents worldwide)

Orthopaedic Textbooks

Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics - produced by Duke University Medical Center's Division of Orthopedic Surgery, in conjunction with Data Trace Internet Publishing, LLC is made available online for free and is said to be "the most comprehensive, unparalleled, dynamic online medical textbook in existence." There are over 11,000 pages with more than 5,000 images and a range of easy to search formats.

Tools for Practice from the Alberta College of Family Physicians

  • Tools for Practice #74. Coffee: Advice for our vice? Author(s): G. Michael Allan MD CCFP, Marco Mannarino MD, Alberta College of Family Physician Bottom-line: Coffee consumption is associated with no change or a small reduction in mortality in cohort studies. While the evidence is not strong enough to recommend non-drinkers to start consuming coffee, coffee drinkers can be reassured that it does not appear to result in excess harm (except in pregnancy). Read more ...

Medical Mneumonics

Medical Mneumonics is a free, non-profit, online searchable database of medical mnemonics to help remember important lists.

Instant Anatomy

The Instant Anatomy website includes a range of podcasts, video podcasts, health apps and brain games to help any health professionals or students refresh their knowledge of anatomy. Website developed by Dr Robert Whitaker, a paediatric urological surgeon who now teaches anatomy to students and doctors.

Critical Appraisal

Answering Clinical Questions with Literature Searches

Do you have a clinical question and wondering how to find a reliable, up to date article that answers your question?

For a brief search, one can start with PubMed. PubMed is a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals. In most cases, an abstract is available and some even link to the full article.

To assess an article properly, one then needs to apply the principles of clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine. To remind yourself how to evaluate the literature, review the resources located on the EPIQ website. EPIQ stands for Effective Practice, Informatics & Quality Improvement and is a NZ group that has developed some great resources used throughout the world.


Journal Reviews

Sign up for regular emails of the most relevant and useful Evidence Updates tailored to your areas of interest. This unique service is provided by BMJ Group and McMaster University's Health Information Research Unit. "All citations (from over 170 premier clinical journals) are pre-rated for quality by research staff, then rated for clinical relevance and interest by at least 3 members of a worldwide panel of practicing physicians."

WONCA Journal Watch - free service


Popular Journals

Receive emails of the table of contents of your favourite journals – BMJ, Lancet, Family Practice etc.

British Medical Journal

Bio Med Central - Publisher of 200 peer-reviewed open access journals

BMC Family Practice

BMC Nursing

BMC Public Health

Clinical Diabetes (open access)

Free Medical Journals – over 1214 journals available

Journal American Board of Family Medicine – (free access)

Nutrition Journal (open access)

Journal of Primary Healthcare - NZ

NZ Medical Journal – (open access to articles over 6 months)

Preventing Chronic Disease – journal from CDC focusing on public health research, practice and policy



Professional Requirements

Nursing Council of NZ - Continuing Competence Framework

RNZCGP – College Educational Programmes including AVE and MOPS

Cornerstone - "is a combined quality improvement and quality assurance process which uses a set of measurements collated in the publication Aiming for Excellence."

Postgraduate training






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Last updated on November 13, 2014