Professional development is a very important part of the job in the health and social care sector. It is important to keep up-to-date with changing legislation and best practices and there is always room to improve. It is prudent to have a good understanding of the sources of support available to help with learning and development.
The best source of support for my own learning and development is my manager. I have regular supervisions with her to discuss any training that I think I need or she thinks I could benefit from. I also have regular formal observations (where my manager observes me doing a support task), professional discussions (where myself and my manager talk about a work-related subject) and an annual appraisal. These are documented and and go into my personnel and training records and my manager will offer guidance about how I can improve my practice.
Training & research
My company provides regular training and regular refreshers for training we have already undertaken. We have a dedicated training and development manager whom I can approach to discuss my needs. I can also do my own research to learn about topics that I feel I should know more about from books or the Internet.
Feedback from others
I find talking with my colleagues and other professionals from the care sector can be great sources of information. Regular team meetings allow the staff team to discuss work and learn from one another. A good example of knowledge-sharing between other professionals are the Registered Managers Networks run by Skills for Care (they are free and you don’t have to be a registered manager to attend, although you should contact the Chair first).
For some people, a mentor can be a valuable source of learning. This is someone who is good at their job and give you pointers and advice about your work and how you could do it better. You can also learn from observing them and incorporating their good practice into your own. Similarly, if you are enrolled on a course or training program, your tutor/teacher may be able to give you valuable advice.
Policies & procedures
Company policies and procedures can also be great sources of information regarding my own personal development. By reading and understanding them, you are much better equipped to deal with situations in the correct manner and you can learn a lot about how your organisation and the health and social care sector as a whole work.
So, in summary, the main sources of support are:
- Informal and formal conversation with manager
- Professional discussions
- Regular training
- Own research
- Talking with colleagues
- Talking with professionals
- Team meetings
- Registered Managers Network
- Company policies and procedures
Support for planning and reviewing your development can be obtained from many sources. Asking for feedback from colleagues, clients, client’s families and other professionals can help identify areas of development to consider. Quarterly supervisions and annual appraisals can also be used and mutually agreeable targets between yourself and your manager can be set. Quarterly observations and professional discussions can also be useful. Team meetings are also a great forum to discuss the service provision. Externally, you can get support online from a myriad of Internet sites as well as formal training on personal development.
NOTE: In my Diploma portfolio, I also included a copy of our Supervision Policy & Procedure for evidence.