Reflection, self-assessment and continuous professional development: an opinion paper


  • Hesta Friedrich-Nel (Professor) Central University of Technology


reflection, clinical competence, maintenance of license


The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) introduced the continuing professional development (CPD) system for all practitioners in 2007. The HPCSA did however identify shortcomings to the current CPD system and has proposed a maintenance of licensure (MOL) model. This article unpacks what the MOL entails in terms of clinical competence, reflection, reflective practice, and self-assessment. The MOL proposal intends to verify that each HPCSA registered practitioner maintains and improves professional knowledge, skills and performance for improved patient outcomes and health systems. Evaluation of competencies and performance through self-assessment would be required. A reflective practitioner is actively involved in their own personal development, and uses ongoing reflection-in-action and identifies development needs through self-assessment. Reference is made to other studies to analyse the implementation of reflective practice, reflection and self-assessment linked to CPD activities. In view of reflection, reflective practice and self-assessment described in the literature to self-report on CPD, it is apparent that it may or may not be the panacea to address the criteria of being ‘sufficiently experienced’, ‘clinically competent’ and a ‘reflective practitioner’. Ethically, practitioners should not have to depend on any CPD model to best serve the needs of the patient and provide optimal patient-centred care.


Author Biography

Hesta Friedrich-Nel, (Professor) Central University of Technology

Assitant dean: Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Technology, Free State






Opinion article