Nurses' perceptions of continuing professional development.
AIM: To investigate NHS and private sector nurses' perceptions of the value of continuing professional development (CPD), and to analyse the factors that influence these perceptions and any potential barriers to successful CPD. METHOD: Questionnaires were sent to 200 staff working in two NHS trusts and 13 nursing homes. Following analysis of the questionnaires, interviews took place with eight self-selecting respondents to explore certain issues further. Each interview was taped and lasted 30-45 minutes. The venue for the interview was arranged to suit the respondent, either in a private office in the work environment or at home. Written consent was sought before taping the interview. RESULTS: From the results of the postal questionnaires a largely positive perception of CPD was determined. However, it was shown that there were some barriers to professional development that have not previously been reported in the literature. Managers' leadership styles were found to influence nurses' perceptions of the value of CPD, as well as their ability to reflect, which affected the application of learning to practice. CONCLUSION: Influencing factors included managers' leadership styles and their responsiveness to change, as well as a reduced ability for nurses to reflect. A disassociation between post-registration education and practice (PREP) and CPD in terms of understanding the purpose of PREP was also discovered among nurses.