High level Professional Development Planning tool

If you intend to use this high-level tool, please download the blank template and save it to a readily accessible location

1. Needs Assessment (including self-evaluation)

List your learning needs relevant to your scope/s of practice and relevant to the RACP professional domains in the box below. The following questions may help:

  • What has your previous year’s practice and CPD activities indicated about your learning needs (e.g. what did you learn from the educational activities you completed, what have you learnt from the peer review you participated in, what potential change was indicated by the audit, quality improvement, or other activities that measure outcomes that you completed?
  • What areas of work or professional domains are you wanting to develop? What skills and knowledge do you need to ensure you grow expertise in your scope of practice?
  • What new skills or knowledge do you need to make changes to your scope of practice or to develop in your professional career? Think about your longer-term plans as well as the immediate future.
  • What incidents have occurred that indicate a learning need? When have you felt uncomfortable professionally or clinically over the past year?
  • What feedback have you had from peers, colleagues, managers, patients, clients, referring agencies that indicate potential need for development?
  • What are key health needs of the area I work in and in my scope of practice with this cohort of patients?

See example below and further background information on learning needs 

Learning Needs (including self-evaluation of your practice and previous CPD) 

Improve my knowledge base - a constant need as a General Paediatrician where I keep meeting patients with subspecialty problems

Improve Cultural Safety/Awareness - a constant need with growing awareness of the importance of communication with patients/families

Audit/Peer Review – Need to plan activities that will meet the Measuring Outcomes and Performance Review parts of CPD

My current location has a large Aboriginal population. I also have specific patients with severe epilepsy. I also see several patients with hypopituitarism.

Anecdotal concerns expressed about outcomes for children when referred to a subspecialty service at _______ hospital. These concerns are around the referrals being declined or little or not follow up for long term problems experienced by the patient.

2.  Create your goals

(see example below and further information and examples)

Choose the 3-5 learning needs you feel will have most impact on your practice and develop SMART goals for each learning need. Add them in the goal column below. (Other templates you can use can be found here).

The following questions can help when drafting your goals:

S: What specifically is that you want to achieve?

M: How will you measure the outcome.

A, R and T: Is the goal achievable, realistic and relevant and have you added a timeframe. Should you consider the resources you need to meet the goal within that timeframe.

3. Identify the activities likely to meet your goals

Choose the activities most likely to meet your goals and add them to the relevant goals (see example below). In some instances, goals will be an activity in themselves while other more complex goals, or goals that stretch over a longer time frame, may have multiple activities. In many cases these activities will be claimable CPD activities and it may be valuable to refer to the activity examples list. If you are not using the PDP tool in MyCPD then it is useful to create the activities you have added above into MyCPD.

It is also useful to think SMART when listing your activities:

  • Give your activities a timeframe
  • Identify the resources you need (including employer support) to ensure the activities are achievable
Goals  Activities
 Improve knowledge base particularly in areas of epilepsy and hypopituitarism  Focus journal reading throughout the year on issues that arise.
 Attend the Paediatric Endocrinology study day in June or complete an online course if available.
 Attend at least one workshop of Paediatric Epilepsy PET 1 Course in March.
 Establish quarterly peer review session with colleagues to discuss cases of epilepsy and hypopituitarism.
 Improve communication with patients and in particular cultural safety / awareness  Complete RACP online learning program by July. 
 Complete the patient component of multisource feedback by October and discuss results with Dr ____.
 Complete, by December 20__ an audit of outcomes of referrals to _________________ to ensure outcomes are as intended or identify any issues for resolution  Review the curated collection on audit through Online Learning Resources @ RACP by the end of Feb. 
 By March - complete application to the Hospital to complete audit. 
 Gather data, review, discuss with colleagues and make recommendations. 
 Improve my teaching skills  Before end Dec. arrange with a colleague to attend one ward round or clinic to provide feedback on quality of my feedback to students. 

4. Ongoing self-assessment and reflection on the outcomes

Self-assessment and reflection are ongoing activities. Learning plans are ideally flexible and changeable. Depending on the outcome of the activities you undertake, goals may shift and new more relevant activities may be identified.

It is also useful to keep a record throughout the year of:

  • whether the activities you complete achieved your goals
  • key incidents that indicated a need to upskill or deepen your knowledge
  • your reactions to any feedback from peers/patients

Record these in the box below and this will become part of your learning needs for the following year.

Reflection / self-evaluation

Workshop in PET 1 course excellent - will be value in completing the program.

More realistic to complete peer review session on half yearly basis and make them longer.

Patient feedback exercise was very valuable - worth considering colleague component. Identified considerable opportunities for change - need to work with cultural liaison staff. 

Peer review of teaching not possible to organise due to time constraints - suggest at unit level that this becomes standard practice.

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