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Creating a personal development plan to deliver your professional learning and development needs

By GDC | 8th February 2024 | Blog

What is a personal development plan for?

Your personal development plan (PDP) is just that, a plan for your personal development as a dental professional.

First and foremost, creating a PDP provides an opportunity for you to consider what CPD activities will help you to maintain and develop your practice as a dental professional. It's all about helping you to make relevant and informed choices about the CPD activities you want to undertake to be fulfilled in your work and deliver good care to your patients.

Think of it as your roadmap for your CPD journey. You might choose to, or need to, take a few detours on the way, but having a plan will make sure you keep heading in the right direction. Of course, before taking any trip, you'll need to make sure you know the rules of the road.

So, make sure you understand your CPD requirements. Check that you:

  • Know the minimum number of verifiable CPD hours  you need to do for your full CPD cycle. You will need to spread your CPD out across your five-year cycle, so be clear about the need to complete a minimum of 10 hours of CPD every two years, even if you are in the first year of a new cycle.
  • Understand what verifiable CPD means , and what your CPD provider needs to give you to demonstrate you have successfully completed an activity. Where your provider does not provide evidence of CPD in a certificate, you could complete a mapping table  and ask them to sign it. Make sure you understand this process.

The next thing to do is identify your professional development needs.

Identifying your development needs

You can create your PDP on your own or with others, it's up to you. Either way, the first step is to identify your learning and development needs. Think about where you want to be by the end of your journey and what you will need to do to get there.

Reflecting on your career goals and any areas of practice you want to develop is a good starting point. Think about any feedback from patients or members of your team, your work setting and the equipment you use, how you might maintain or improve your knowledge and skills, and where you want to develop your personal scope of practice.

Talking to your employer or manager about whether a performance appraisal or undertaking a learning needs assessment might help you to identify your development needs at the start of a CPD cycle. Peer reviews, clinical audits, inspection reports and patient or colleague feedback can provide useful insights for those not directly employed. Some people find it useful to look at learning needs with a mentor or a more experienced colleague.

If you are directly employed, asking for an appraisal or assessment may start a conversation about what, if any, protected time might be available to you to do CPD, or what financial support might be on offer if you think you might struggle to cover the cost of good quality CPD. If you feel comfortable doing so, you might wish to ask your employer to read the CPD section of the GDC's guidance for employers and managers of dental professionals .

Invest time in these discussions to make sure you're getting the most out of your CPD.

Don't just do any CPD, make it good quality CPD

When you have an idea of the learning you want to do and the skills you need to maintain, you can further develop your plans by identifying the CPD activities you want to undertake.

As you develop your PDP, make sure that the CPD activities you're considering relate to the work you do or the patients you see. In other words, that the learning needs you're looking to satisfy are relevant to your current or future field of practice. Selecting CPD activities that relate to your field of practice and that deliver at least one of the Enhanced CPD scheme development  outcomes will help to ensure the CPD you do is relevant and reflects the standards expected of dental professionals.

You might already know that GDC provide recommended CPD topics  on their website. These won't all be for everyone, because your CPD needs to be relevant to your field of practice, but check to see if there are any topics that you need to refresh regularly to ensure the safety of your patients. Plan to do more than your minimum hours to give you some flexibility as you work through your cycle, it will provide you with some options while making sure that you stay on top of the minimum requirements

Click Here  to start your CPD journey!

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