Learn, Do Not Copy!

Work with others to review and prioritise own learning needs, professional interests and development opportunities

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

As part of your personal development, you will need to work with others to review and prioritise your own learning needs, professional interests and development opportunities.

Learning needs refers to any training or experiential opportunities you need to maintain and develop your practice. For example, your organisation may have invested in a new computerised care-planning system and you require training on how to use it. Professional interests are the aspects of your role that you find most interesting and wish to learn more about. For example, you may have a special interest in learning how to sign in Makaton. Development opportunities are any activities that give you the chance to learn. This does not have to be during working hours and could, for example, be learning more about the support of people with terminal illnesses by volunteering at a local hospice.

It is important that you review your learning needs, professional interests and development opportunities regularly because the needs of yourself and your organisation will change over time. You should also work with others to prioritise your learning – your employer may need you to be trained in a particular skill before you pursue your professional interests, so it is important that you have a discussion to reach an agreement.

This will usually mean sitting down with your manager to discuss areas where you can specialise or improve upon the work you are already doing. However, you may want to also get support from others such as your tutor, learning and development manager (if your organisation has one) or other colleagues. Obtaining feedback from others is a useful way to identify areas where you may need to develop.

Learning needs, professional interests and development opportunities can include:

  • Formal training
  • Induction, supervision and observations
  • Own research
  • Working towards qualifications
  • Learning from a mentor or shadowing others
  • Joining a professional industry body (e.g. Royal College of Nursing)
  • Joining local groups (e.g. registered manager meetings)

Often you will identify your personal development needs during supervision with your manager, where you will also have the opportunity to work together on your own personal development plan.

You may find it useful to try to match your own learning needs with the future needs of the organisation that you work for. For example, there may be a skills gap due to a colleague retiring or your employer may be planning to open new specialised services. By aligning your requirements with that of your employer, you are much more likely to be offered opportunities.