Ian presenting at the 5th International Conference on Phytotherapeutics, 2004

Continuing Professional Education – an essential component of a real profession

I recently received the alert emails from the NHAA reminding members that their CPE Diary for 2014 is due by the end of December. I know many respond with “yawn, not again?!”, but for me I see compulsory continuing professional education (CPE) as a sign of a real health profession, and I am happy to participate.

Continuing education makes sense … knowledge increases, concepts change and adapt, and as humans we always have room to improve. As health professionals this is even more important, and relying only upon what you learned in your undergraduate education is certainly not going to help your patients or your career.

The NHAA CPE program is extremely well thought out. An overall minimum of 50 points is broken up into a minimum of 20 points directly related to herbal medicine, 12 points related to medical sciences, and 18 points related to other areas of health care. This creates a flexible system which is more than just a “bureaucratic hurdle” – it is a system which can meet the continuing education needs of all herbalists and naturopaths, whether you be in clinical practice, working for a company selling therapeutic products, in education, or any other area.

Many different types of activities are recognised – even participating in a closed practitioner group on Facebook can earn you 2 points per year! I find keeping major activities (like seminars, conferences, and short courses) in my electronic calendar makes it easy to look back and record what I have done over the last 12 months. When you really think about what you have done for the year, and look at the activities recognised by the NHAA, it is not hard to reach your required 50 points.

And remember the words of Benjamin Franklin …

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”


Image of Ian Breakspear speaking at the NHAA 5th International Conference on Phytotherapeutics, Canberra, 2004

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