PA Portfolios and CPD

In order to to remain on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR), a requirement for all our PAs at the Trust, you must complete at least 50 hours (credits) of CPD per year, including 25 hours of 'external' credits. This should be recorded on FPAs CPD diary platform. We also recommend you use a portfolio to collect evidence of your professional development. This page contains useful information and resources about both portfolios and CPD for PAs. 

Doctor's Desk

CPD Requirements

As mentioned above, in order to to remain on the PAMVR you must complete at least 50 hours (credits) of CPD per year. This should be recorded on FPAs CPD diary platform. The FPA have also developed an app to make recording your activities easier. You can find additional guidance on CPD for PAs on the FPA website, but below is some key information including what qualifies as external and internal credits. 

CPD Credits 

One credit is based on one hour of educational activity and you should record at least 50 credits per year. The credits should represent a balance of different learning methods and cover a broad range of areas i.e. should not focus only on narrow speciality interests. 

Credits can be clinical or non-clinical and should fall into one of three categories; personal, internal or external. Over a 5 year cycle, at least 125 credits should be 'Clinical External' and 25 should be 'Non-Clinical External'. 

Clinical Credits - any event in which the educational content directly relates to clinical topics.

Non - Clinical Credits - an educational event that is not directly related to clinical issues, e.g. management courses, ethical and legal issues, appraisal training.

External Credits (25 required per year) -  events outside the hospital or trust such as attending conferences and study days. These may be regional, national or international meetings, and are often held by specialist societies, or are meetings that attendees pay for. Any External meetings not found by searching in the CPD Diary should be entered under ‘Unlisted External Meetings’. 

Internal Credits - events within or organised by the hospital/trust/GP. E.g. hospital Grand Rounds, journal clubs, local evening medical meetings, etc.

Personal Credits (Maximum of 10 per year) - relate to study such as private reading, lecturing, researching etc.

Exemption Credits - may only be claimed in exceptional circumstances when a Physician Associate is unable to meet the annual minimum requirements due to illness, maternity leave or long absence from work.

Restrictions - 

  • Only the first 10 credits of distance learning can be counted as 'External' and the rest will fall into the 'Personal' category. 

  • Only 12 'External' credits for an MSc qualification can be counted - the remainder can be recorded as 'Personal'. 

  • Only 12 'External' credits for any examinations can be counted - the remainder can be recorded as 'Personal'. 

  • You cannot claim 'External' CPD credits for any 'teaching, speaking at, or facilitating meetings'

  • You can claim 1 'Personal' credit for preparation for delivering a talk or lecture. 

Examples of Qualifying CPD

  • Work related MSc or equivalent activity (External)

  • Unlisted External meetings (External)

  • Internal CPD meetings (Internal)

  • Internal trust or employer mandatory training (Internal)

  • Participating in audit meetings or Morbidity and Mortality meetings (Internal)

  • Participating in Grand Rounds or Specialty Clinical Meetings (Internal)

  • Participating in Seminars/Workshops (Internal)

  • Internal trust or employer mandatory training (Internal)

  • Carrying out information searches (Personal)

  • Making new presentations at conferences (Personal)

  • Participating in Committees/Working parties (Personal)

  • Reading Journals and texts (Personal)

  • Refereeing articles and texts (Personal)

  • Undertaking a research project (Personal)

  • Undertaking QA/enhancement/peer reviews (Personal)

  • Writing examination questions or examining (Personal)

  • Writing review articles and texts (Personal)

PA Portfolios

Why keep a portfolio? 

Whilst keeping a portfolio, unlike the CPD diary discussed above, is not currently mandatory for PAs, we recommend that all PAs record their personal development and learning in a portfolio for the following reasons: 

  • It allows you to accurately record your skills, abilities and experience which you can then demonstrate to your supervisors, colleagues and future employers. This is particularly useful for your annual appraisal process. 

  • The PA role is relatively new to UK healthcare and therefore keeping evidence of your personal development in a portfolio could prove useful should additional regulation be introduced. 

  • It enables reflective practice whereby you can look back on your progress and identify areas you would like to develop in going forward. 

What can I use as a portfolio? 

As it is currently not mandatory for PAs to keep a portfolio, unfortunately an electronic platform does not yet exist for PAs to access and use. Therefore, a traditional paper based or typed portfolio is the best option for current PAs to use. The FPA has a 'Personal and Professional Development Toolkit' which has a suggested portfolio structure and 'Appendix 1' to this contains useful templates you can include for different types of learning - both can be found here.

What should I include? 

As mentioned in the above section, 'Appendix 1 - Personal and Professional Development Toolkit' on the FPA website has useful templates covering the different sections your portfolio could/should include. Find brief descriptions below of some of the key areas you will likely want to include in your portfolio. 

  • Personal Details - basic details including your name, date of qualification, PAMVR number and upcoming appraisal information. 

  • CV - summary of your current employment/placement details as well as previous employment and further qualification details. 

  • CPD - evidence of your CPD such as your certificates of completion of the annual FPA CPD diary requirements, breakdown of your CPD and evidence of attendance at courses, teaching, e-learning and conferences. 

  • Job Plan - include a copy of your current job plan detailing what an average working week looks like for you in your department. 

  • Study Leave - record details of any study leave you attend. At this Trust, as a PA, you are entitled to 5 days of study leave per calendar year. Please see here for additional information about applying for study leave. You can also record details of any professional leave you might take in this section. 

  • Exams - you can record details of any additional exams you might have sat as well as any you have attended as an examiner. 

  • Mandatory Training - list any information of any Trust mandatory training or e-learning you have completed including, but not limited to, manual handling, infection control, information governance, diversity, conflict resolution and safeguarding. 

  • Work-based Assessments/Supervised Learning Events:  

    • CBDs - FPA recommends a minimum of 4 per year. ​

    • Mini-CEXs - FPA recommends a minimum of 3 per year. 

    • DOPs - FPA recommends a minimum of 3 per year. 

  • Reflections - evidence of reflective practice across the year. You should keep written reflections, no more than 1,000 words, detailing different examples of situations you have encountered in your role to help you identify your strengths and areas you might want to develop further. Each reflection should ideally include: 

    • A description of the situation and background. ​

    • A discussion of your feelings during and after the event. 

    • An evaluation of how you think things went and the positives and negatives. 

    • An analysis of what helped and hindered you - bringing in any theory and literature where appropriate. 

    • A conclusion, summarising what you learn. 

    • An action plan detailing what you might do different going forward, if anything, and any learning you want to do as a result

  • Procedure and Surgical Log - a record of any procedures you have carried out and any theatre time you've completed. This could include the dates, descriptions of the procedure and outlines of your involvement. 

  • Feedback - all healthcare professionals should gather external feedback on their performance in order to get a develop an understanding of how their work fits into the wider healthcare environment. This should take the form of, multisource feedback​, from your colleagues and patient feedback. You should also log any compliments and complaints you receive. ​

  • Quality Improvement - record any quality improvement work or audits you have been involved in, including the outcomes/results.  

  • Teaching and Presentations - You should keep a log of any teaching you attend as well as any teaching you have delivered. If you are delivering the teaching you can use evaluation forms to collect feedback from your audience and record this in your portfolio. 

    •  Rotational PAs have protected teaching time on the last Wednesday afternoon of every month, permanent PAs are also welcome to attend this. 

  • Research and Publications - Record any evidence of research projects or publications you have been involved with. 

  • Clinical Leadership - Include in your portfolio any evidence of clinical leadership and management activities you might have undertaken. This could include leadership teaching or courses. 

  • Additional Achievements - You should record evidence of any professional awards/prizes you might have won or been shortlisted for. You can also record any additional qualifications you might have gained such as diplomas etc.