A Personal Development Plan is an invaluable tool for the health and social care worker because learning new skills, updating existing skills and increasing understanding and efficiency are essential to the role.
What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)?
In a nutshell, a PDP is a way to identify your learning needs and document what you need to do to achieve them. You will usually complete your PDP with your line manager and discuss what training or self-study would be useful to you and increase your effectiveness in your role.
Formalising and documenting your personal development has the benefit of turning ideas into something more concrete that is actionable and time-specific. You will usually plan your learning for the next 12 months so many organisations find it useful to tie-in creating a PDP with Annual Appraisals.
Other individuals that may have some input into your PDP are in-house Training Managers, other colleagues and even clients. Ultimately, however, the final plan will be decided by yourself and your manager.
When deciding your training needs, you should keep in mind that your learning should benefit the organisation you work for. For example, it is unlikely that a health and social care company would be willing to pay for it’s staff to go on a welding course!
Several factors will influence how you and your manager decide on your learning needs. These include:
- Your current skillset (e.g. do you need any refreshers?)
- Your weaknesses (e.g. maybe you need to brush up your Numeracy or IT skills)
- Your career goals (e.g. leadership training for those wishing to advance)
- Organisation needs (e.g. do a certain number of staff need to be trained as first-aiders or fire marshalls?)
- Service/setting needs (e.g. do staff need training on certain equipment in the service such as a hoist?)
- Client needs (e.g. does the client require staff with specialist medical training such as epilepsy or diabetes?)
How to Write a Personal Development Plan
A good place to start on your PDP is to look at your current strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What needs improvement? If you’ve recently reflected on some work you did, you may have identified a need for some specific training. Then take a look at your own long-term goals and see what sort of training and development is essential or desirable to achieve them. Also look at how this training would be beneficial to you organisation.
Then, discuss this with your line manager. You manager should also be able to help you with guidance and advice and may offer some organisational specific suggestions.
Next, write a list of your personal development goals for the year along with specific deadlines for achieving them, the actions that need to be taken and by whom. For example:
|Goal||By when?||Action needed||By whom?|
|1. Complete Level 3 Diploma||Jan 2020||Seek provider|
|2. First Aid Training||May 2019||Arrange with Training Manager||Me|
Over the following months, keep your PDP updated as and when you complete your goals and keep reviewing it to make sure you are on track.
In twelve months time, you and your manager should sit down again and discuss your PDP. Did you complete or you goals? If not, why not? Have your career aspirations changed over the year? What goals should be set for the following twelve months?
Personal Development Planning is a continuous process and will provide you with a roadmap to stay organised and keep on top of your learning.
Example Diploma Answer
My personal development plan is usually discussed between myself and my manager in my supervision. During this meeting, my manager will also pass on any ideas for training that senior management think I will benefit from. We will then agree on some objectives for my personal development and discuss what methods we can use to achieve these objectives, whether it be formal training (either internal or external), working towards a qualification or doing my own research. Finally, we will set a timescale for me to achieve these objectives and arrange a schedule to review my progress.