Identifying your learning needs

Return to practice - Identifying your learning needs

In order to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and to get back into practice you will need:

  • awareness of current developments in health and social care
  • knowledge of the expectations of the Health and Care Professions Council and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • enough skills and knowledge in your chosen field of practice to be a safe and effective practitioner

Practical steps to help identify your needs

  • Have a look at this very simple capabilities audit tool as a starting point.
  • The College’s Learning and development standards for pre-registration education may be useful to identify the profile of a graduate level entrant to the profession.
  • The preceptorship framework which provides a structured way to support new graduates can also be a means of looking at your own key skills.
  • Looking at job descriptions in possible areas of practice might highlight topics for which you would like to know more.
  • List the topics and areas that you think you need to update or develop.
  • Consider how you can best meet these learning needs.
  • Would it be through private study, formal learning or whilst on supervised placement?
  • Begin to plan your learning.

How to record your learning

The HCPC has specific forms for you to use to record your period of updating within their Returners to Practice Pack. These forms are only a summary of your learning. You also need to keep a fuller reflection for each learning activity that you do. The time you spend reflecting on and recording your learning can be counted towards your private study.

These records can become part of your ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) portfolio. If HCPC, or a future employer, want information about your learning and development, your fuller records are your evidence. There are also CPD templates on the Learning Zone section of the College website.

You can choose to design your own recording forms for your CPD portfolio. You need to record:


  • the date of the learning activity or event
  • a title for the activity or event
  • the nature of the activity or event, eg reading a journal, attending a course; and
  • your reflection on the activity or event

You may want to consider the activity or event in the terms of the HCPC standards for CPD. For instance, how does it contribute to the quality of your practice and service delivery? How does your CPD benefit the service user?