Twitter: part of your CPD toolkit

This week I’ve been thinking about continuing professional development – CPD. We’ve been developing the physiotalk website and over the next month will start to include some of the ways that Twitter and #physiotalk can support your CPD.

Social media offers fantastic opportunities for learning from others and sharing ideas. Janet Thomas’ post last week talked about how and why to start using Twitter for work. This week I am hoping build on Janet’s post and convince you that Twitter is a great option for CPD. I’ve included some examples of my own experiences and ideas on how to use Twitter in your CPD record, andultimately in a profile for the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) if you are selected for audit in 2014.

Learning from Twitter

I started using Twitter for work in 2011 and as I got used to the basics, the do’s and don’ts, and the art of following, I found it was a perfect place for learning from and networking with other healthcare professionals.  It is fast, responsive and up to date – allowing you to see news, resources and other people’s responses to them the day they publish.

Using Twitter has helped me to fit learning flexibly around work, home, personal interests and work priorities – and all for free. As one of only two physiotherapists within my organisation it has also helped me feel less professionally isolated.

Here are some of my own learning activities using Twitter:

  • Becoming familiar with and sticking to HCPC and Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) guidance on social media use
  • Learning how to tweet succinctly and professionally, and becoming more confident about ‘publishing’ information in a very public space (I’m still learning)
  • Discussing professional use of Twitter with my employer, being clear on their expectations and ultimately demonstrating responsible use of Twitter to them
  • Listening to the perspectives of patients, including Kate Granger’s #hellomynameis (@GrangerKate) and National Voices (@NVTweeting)
  • Spontaneous discussions on topics relevant to my work – both joining in and just ‘listening’
  • Twitter chats –focused, fast moving discussion and sharing of ideas; and pre and post-chat information has been a useful when I haven’t been able to join the discussion.
  • Using Twitter at conferences to tweet key messages and see other people’s comments on conference topics.

Documenting learning from Twitter

Once of the advantages of Twitter is that you have a ready-made record of your activity. The HCPC recognises that there are a number of ways that we can undertake CPD; the challenge is to turn this activity into a meaningful record that meets HCPC standards.  Here are some suggestions of where Twitter activity might fit in to the HCPC standards for CPD, and the principles are very similar to other forms of professional activity or self-directed learning. These are just ideas, and hopefully they will stimulate some discussion!

1. maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities

  • Add relevant twitter activity, such as participation in tweet chats and other discussions, to your list of CPD activity or CPD diary (see ‘evidence 1’ on HCPC CPD profile template) including dates and a brief description
  • Include evidence of learning from Twitter in your CPD ‘folder’ – whether paper or electronic. This could include a screen grab, Storify and/or a reflective statement.

2. demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice

  • Include use of Twitter when planning your CPD, for example in your SWOT analysis and personal development plan. Summarise how it is relevant to your role, how it will contribute to your objectives, goals, and development and how you think it will benefit your service user.
  • There are different ways to use Twitter for CPD so choose what suits you best, this might include following organisations, experts and opinion formers; taking part in tweet chats or more spontaneous discussions; and posting questions to colleagues and followers
  • Use Twitter as a method of CPD alongside, and to complement, other learning and development activities

3. seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery

  • Reflect on, and document, how using Twitter has been relevant to your role and examples of how it has helped to improve the way you work, examples might include professionalism, communication skills, working innovatively, helping others to use social media, and influencing changes in service design or care pathways
  • This could also include a statement from your colleagues or manager describing how your use of social media has benefited your team or service, for example as part of your annual appraisal

4. seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user

  • As above, writing a reflective statement on significant learning or activity will help you keep track of examples
  • Examples will depend on your service user (patients, students, members of staff, the public) but might include improving the quality of care for an individual patient or group of patients, or informing changes in service design or care pathways
  • Another example might include using Twitter to help a patient, carer, or service user find sources of information and support through social media

5. upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the standards for CPD.

  • In the same way as for other CPD activities – planning, reviewing and regularly recording your use of Twitter, alongside other CPD activities, will help you provide the right information if you are selected by the HCPC for the CPD audit in 2014

Top Tips for using Twitter for CPD:

  • Twitter can offer brilliant of opportunities for CPD, which complement rather than replace other options
  • Twitter is free, flexible, and crosses professional, hierarchical and geographical boundaries – and there are lots of enthusiastic tweeters out there who can help!
  • You don’t have to tweet to learn from Twitter – there is lots to learn from just following the right people and organisations for your area of practice
  • Use the HCPC standards for CPD and the CSP’s CPD cycle to ‘plan, do, and review’ your use of Twitter
  • Having professional debate in a public space is healthy and can encourage us to think and communicate differently
  • Try out a tweet chat – join us for #physiotalk on Monday 16th December at 8pm!

Hopefully this has given you some ideas of how Twitter might fit into your toolkit of CPD activities. I am sure there will be lots of other suggestions so hopefully this will stimulate some discussion and also inform a #physiotalk discussion on CPD in the New Year.



  1. I just went through a process to renew my credentials as a geriatric clinical specialist. I’m definitely active online and continually learning. There really isn’t an easy way to show this type of learning in the States. Our associations and our states want certificates of participation and defined units for that participation. With technology, we can learn every single day… and how can one put a unit value of learning to it? Do we need changes in what defines learning?

    It is SO time consuming to go through twitter to support one’s learning experience. Storify is kind of helpful, but not… you have to scroll through your tweets to snag the relevant ones.

    I did start tagging the material I tweet in Feedly so I can show a track record of what I have read and shared. The problem with that… Long PDF. Is that acceptable? When one uses Hootsuite, one can get reports on what was clicked…. that still doesn’t capture all that one has learned. It does capture what others appreciated though. At the same time… imagine 10 years worth of the learning. That would be one long PDF!

    I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

  2. Since joining Twitter in the summer the number of articles I have been exposed to has gone through the roof. Twitter allows instant communication between professionals which I think gives it the edge over the Physio only iCSP. Apart from passively following people for information you can get involved in some great discussions with peers as well as directly with authors of papers.
    It’s easy enough to log CPD for articles read but the difficulty is tracking discussions as TherapyGirl5 says.

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