These guidelines have been developed to provide information about the evaluation of learning resources. Midwives are encouraged to use this as a tool when seeking high‑quality resources for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
What is CPD?
CPD is short for Continuing Professional Development.
It can also be called Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Continuing Professional Education (CPE). We use the term CPD.
All healthcare professionals are expected to take part in CPD activities on a regular basis. In some parts of the world, the College of Midwives or the Midwifery Association determines how many hours of CPD midwives should have every year. In other parts of the world, CPD is not mandatory, but midwives are expected to be self‑directed, life‑long learners who keep themselves up‑to‑date with the changes in research and clinical practice guidelines.
Why is CPD Important?
Research is always changing and clinical practice changes in response to changing research.
What we learned in school may no longer be correct or safe. “Best practice” is the term that is used to describe what is currently considered to be the safest or most correct way of practicing midwifery. As we learn from new research, we should adapt our clinical practice so that we are providing the safest care to our patients.
As professionals, midwives have a responsibility to stay up-to-date on the research findings so that we are able to provide the safest care possible. Staying up‑to‑date is done through continuing professional development (CPD).
If we don’t take time to educate ourselves on a regular basis, we may discover that we’re using outdated management techniques that may cause harm to our patients. We all want to provide the best care possible, so we need to commit to CPD.
Evaluating Learning Resources
It is easy to use the internet to search for and access medical information. Any medical question can be answered through a quick Google search. The problem is that it is hard to know whether the information is accurate or not. Anybody can create a website and post information online, but the information may be incorrect. We need to be careful about the credibility and reliability of the information that we find. We need to ensure that it is coming from a reputable source.
Midwives and nurses must be able to trust that the information they are accessing is accurate. Sharing accurate information with our patients is mandatory.
Misinformation is dangerous and can cause serious harm or even death to our patients!
If the information we get online has not come from a published, peer‑reviewed journal, we cannot tell if the results are trustworthy or not.
We cannot offer high‑quality care without high‑quality information.
How to Identify a Reputable Source of Health Information
As a general rule, international medical organizations and societies who develop and share evidence-based research findings about maternal and child health are reputable sources of information. Searching for information directly on the websites of such organizations is the easiest way to obtain evidence‑based information.
Seeking out organizations and medical societies who provide the highest quality, evidence‑based information and guidelines through peer‑reviewed journals is an important skill that all midwives should develop.
In some cases, high‑quality information can be found, free of charge, on YouTube. If the organization who has posted the video or educational information is reputable, then the information is likely high quality.
When doing a YouTube search on a specific topic, find the source of the information (e.g.: who posted the information) before watching the video.
Always check the source before using YouTube videos for teaching and learning.
Things to Remember!
Anyone can put up a webpage, but you want a trusted source.
How can you tell if a website is reliable? Start by asking the questions in the checklist and then decide whether you think it is a trusted source or not.
You can usually find the answers to these questions on the main page or the “About Us” page of a website.
This should be your first stop as it will say who is running the website and why.
Often you will find the company’s mission statement in the “About Us” section and you will learn if the site is run by health care professionals.
Next, check to see if there is a way to contact the organization running the site.
When reading the mission, find out if the services are free or if the unspoken purpose might be to sell you something.
A site with a shopping cart as the main item may have a high priority to sell you something. Is the advertisement clearly identified?
Now that you know who is running the site and why, look at where the information comes from and who writes it to determine if it is high‑quality.
An editorial board, selection policy or review process by a Board of Directors will only approve information that meets their rules for quality.
Good sites should rely on medical research, not on opinion and the information should be unbiased.
Biased information is usually a sign that it is supported by a drug company who wants to sell their product.
Information about the research study should be provided for your reference along with a link to the source so that you can verify the quality of the information.
Check to see that the information is current.
Out of date information can be hazardous as it may not reflect the latest research or treatments.
Only share information or sign up if you understand how your personal information will be used and if you are comfortable with it.