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Professional Competence

Guidelines and Resources


CPD Explained



Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is how doctors update their knowledge and skills throughout their working lives. This includes all elements of good medical practice - both clinical and non-clinical.

There are four categories that apply to your CPD learning activities:

  • External (Maintenance of Knowledge and Skills)
  • Internal (Practice Evaluation and Development)
  • Personal Learning
  • Research or Teaching

Between 1 May 2022 and 30 April 2023 you need to engage in and record a minimum of 25 CPD credits in any of these categories. We recomend you always include a good variety of categories.


External CPD (Maintenance of Knowledge and Skills)

External CPD relates to educational activities that take place outside your workplace where you can interact with and learn from others.

You can claim 1 CPD credit for each hour spent on activities such as the examples listed below:

  • Academic/scientific meetings
  • Symposiums
  • Exam preparation courses
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Courses/lectures/workshops leading to a Diploma/Masters
  • Online courses or tests where the site provides details of the learning outcome, links to further reading and you can download evidence of participation

Evidence of your participation is required. 

Useful documents


Internal (Practice Evaluation and Development)

Internal CPD activities take place alongside your colleagues and teams within your workplace on topics related to your practice that help improve the standards of your own practice and that of your team.

You can claim 1 CPD credit for each hour spent on activities such as the examples below:

Examples of meeting types:

  • Journal clubs
  • Grand rounds
  • Multi-disciplinary team meetings (MTD)
  • Faculty meetings
  • Editorial meetings
  • Legal briefings
  • Case studies
  • Handover meetings
  • Work groups
  • Review groups
  • Committee meetings - Credits for activities related to committee meetings can be claimed under the internal category. However, a doctor’s PCS activity must be balanced and mirror his/her clinical practice and activity and reflect his/her scope of practice across all domains of practice. Participation on committees is eligible for Internal CPD credits to a maximum of 5 credits each year. There must be a patient safety element to the remit of the committee.

Examples of courses

Training, assessment or re-assessment of practical and other skills carried out at work such as:

  • Accreditation or re-accreditation courses for life saving/resuscitation
  • Anti-microbial stewardship
  • Safe prescribing
  • Hand hygiene
  • Manual handling

Examples of online educational activities

  •, for example, online training provided by your employer
  • Online courses with topics that relate to your practice in the workplace

Evidence of your participation is required. 

Useful documents


Personal Learning

Personal Learning is the most achievable CPD category. Here are some everyday examples of personal learning. You can record 1 CPD credit for every hour of activity.

  • Journal or text book reading (online or printed), for example, Irish Journal of Medical Science, BMJ, Cochrane Library, NEJM, The Lancet etc, as well as study towards an examination such as MRCPI or a Masters
  • Preparation for committee meetings, workshops or work groups
  • Informal discussion relating to CPD with a friend or colleague
  • Viewing recorded lectures

No evidence is required for this category


Research or Teaching

Research or teaching are essential in order to improve patient care. Sharing your knowledge with others will help you to consolidate your own learning as well as providing a valuable education opportunity for your colleagues and peers.

While you are not required to record these activities it is highly desirable to record some in your ePortfolio.


1 credit per hour for:

  • Thesis supervision
  • Preparation to chair an academic meeting
  • Contribution to educational programmes or curricula
  • Teaching or examining postgraduates
  • Teaching or examining undergraduates (requires some written reflection on how this enhanced your own practice)

5 credits for:

  • First-time preparation and delivery of a lecture, presentation, case study
  • First-time preparation and delivery of a poster

Research or Teaching

1 credit per hour for:

  • Participation in a research project which has ethical approval
  • Contribution to a published article or paper
  • Contribution to national guidelines
  • Contribution to textbooks
  • Preparation and delivery of an abstract
  • Peer-review of articles/publications

Evidence of your participation is required. 

Useful documents

Evidence for Research or Teaching (PDF, 169KB)


How to calculate CPD Credit

CPD credit for External, Internal and Personal Learning activities is calculated as 1 learning hour = 1 CPD credit.   

You should claim credit for the number of hours you spent engaged in the activity. You may round the total CPD up or down – for example if the duration of the activity was 1.5 hours, you can claim 2 CPD credits.  If the duration of the activity was 1.25 hours, you can claim 1 CPD credit.

Research or Teaching
First-time preparation and delivery of a publication, presentation, course module, lecture etc. attracts a standard 5 CPD credits in the Research or Teaching category.

Postgraduate Examination and Teaching activities attract 1 hour = 1 CPD credit


Supporting Evidence for CPD Activities

Supporting evidence is required for the External, Internal and Research or Teaching categories

Examples of appropriate types of evidence

  • Letter, memo or attendance certificate for an individual activity, on organising institution headed paper, confirming your attendance
  • List of meetings or schedule of meetings/classes/lectures on organiser/institution headed paper, stamped or signed, including clear confirmation of your attendance
  • Copy of your BLS, ACLS, PALS, ALSO or similar certification/re-certification card
  • Conference identity tag which displays your name, and clearly identifies the educational activity and the date(s) it took place

Useful documents

Evidence that is not acceptable

  • Documents that contain names of other attendees, your trainee/student names, patient names
  • Minutes of meetings or documents that contain other names or information about your workplace/committee etc.
  • Schedules/agendas - these only signify an intention to attend
  • Programmes, invitations, booking confirmations, travel receipts/tickets - these do not confirm attendance at the actual event

GDPR Advice for Doctors

When adding evidence documents to your ePortfolio for Professional Competence, be sure they are in line with General Data Protection Regulations. For example, do not include sign-in sheets with other people's names, minutes, or other proprietary documents. You can find out more about this in our General Data Protection Guidelines.


Approved CPD activities

This page is regularly updated with details of approved CPD activities.

Don’t forget to also visit our RCPI Courses and Events page.

Activities approved for CPD credit 

View: Activities approved for CPD PDF, 224KB |  List updated 22 September 2023