Peer Groups remain a core component of Continuing Professional Development and Professional Development. Although not mandatory, participation in a Peer Group is recommended by the Medical Council.
It is recommended by the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland that Professional Competence Scheme participants are members of a Peer Group registered with the College.
Peer Group activity comes under the CPD structure with which you are already familiar and many such groups are already in existence. Such activity is an additional way to acquire Internal CPD credits (one hour of peer group activity equals one CPD credit).
The use of Peer Groups is well established in improving clinical practice in medicine and they are used for continuing professional competence in many countries. Peer Groups may fulfil various functions, depending on their structure. Feedback from established Peer Groups in psychiatry indicates that benefits include educational development, peer support and pastoral care. Small group learning with peers is seen as helpful in improving practice or facilitating reflection on one’s own practice.
Please see the College’s Guidelines for the Operation of Peer Groups – Revised February 2019 for practical information covering: What is a Peer Group? | How often should a Peer Group meet? | What should a Peer Group discuss? | What documentation should a Peer Group co-ordinator keep? | Does a Peer Group need to be registered with the college?
The guidelines also contain the following appendices for your convenience:
The Peer Group Co-ordinator should complete and submit the group registration form so that the Group is registered with the College.
The Peer Group Co-Ordinator should document the date of the meeting, the general detail of the topic discussed and record the names of the members present on that day. By the end of the PCS year, the Group Co-ordinator should give each group member a summary of the number of meetings attended and the number of CPD hours/credits awarded. Ensure these records are retained for possible verification purposes. Remember to log these credits to your online CPD Diary under the Internal CPD category.
Please contact the College’s PCS department for any queries or advice about your Peer Group. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the PCS office on (01) 634 4378 / 4375.