My personal development plan Introduction
In order to undertake this, it is necessary to first ask a number of fundamental questions:
Who should write the PDP?
You can obviously write it yourself, however, you may not be too sure what your learning needs are so the help of a colleague or colleagues is often useful; it can easily be carried out in a relaxed atmosphere over a cup of coffee; it shouldn't be discussed or formulated in snatched conversations between patients! In a well structured practice, you will be undergoing routine appraisal and this is an ideal time for you to discuss a PDP with your appraiser.
How do I identify my learning needs?
You may be well aware of where you are lacking in confidence and knowledge without anyone having to tell you eg you might not understand how to book an appointment using the recently installed practice computer software. Try sitting down for ten minutes and writing down three things you do badly and three things that you do well. Remember that you are identifying what you need to learn, not necessarily what you want to learn. Learning needs may also be identified from many other sources, such as:
- Feedback from other members of the dental team eg your dentist has suggested that it would be helpful if you could learn how to take impressions
- Feedback from patients eg giving oral health advice to pregnant mothers
- CPD self assessment where you have achieved a low score
- Audit undertaken within the practice eg this may have identified the need for an improved stock rotation system
- Educational meetings or training programmes. You may have attended a course but not really understood much about it
- Practice meetings. These can uncover a learning need relating to the practice which could be addressed by several team members eg the impact of the disability act on the development of the practice.
How many learning needs should I include?
It is important not to overload your PDP by attempting to tackle too many issues. Keep it simple; it is better to identify one or at the most two needs only. These can be selected by considering what is either most important for you or for the practice. For example, your dentist may be just starting to provide implants for patients and you will be assisting him/her but don't know anything about what you may be required to do.
How am I going to learn?
You shouldn't forget that it is possible that another member of the dental team could tutor you. If this is not an option, then there are a host of avenues open to you, such as formal courses, journals, books, distance learning, online computer tutorials, conferences etc. The activity should be focused on your learning needs and should be in a format with which you feel comfortable.
What sort of timescale should I consider?
The timescale needs to be defined but also needs to be realistic ie it needs to be achievable in the timescale you have selected. It may be dictated by the length of a course you have chosen, by the date of a particular forthcoming development in the practice, or simply by the educational time you have available: a maximum of one year is probably a reasonable guide.