A personal development plan is one of the most effective tools for students and professionals who want to achieve excellence in their respective fields. It utilizes the concept of reflection to enable one keep track of the steps they have made to acquire skills and knowledge. It enables one to keep track of the changes required in their life and the weak spots requiring improvement. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see their progress, and determine the skills to be achieved in the future. It aids in the achievement of personal and professional development goals. This is because success requires planning and goal setting. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.
Review of the initial PDP
According to my initial PDP, communication and social skills acquisition was the main goal for the semester. I had planned to communicate more with my instructors in the areas of my weaknesses. The utilization of the instructors’ office hours and the taking of extra time to get in touch with them enabled deeper understanding of the concepts taught in class. This was the main change that I had to make. During this semester, I have been able to increase the amount of time spent with instructors on learning after classes and ensured that I go over everything I learned in class. If there was a point or an idea that needed clarification, I have been leaving it to myself to talk to the teacher in order to understand the concept before the next class.
Social development was also a significant part of my PDP; I discovered that I lack soft skills in relation to other people. The importance of these skills in the work place is significant, and I required developing them in order to avoid the skill mismatch in the workplace (Zenger and Folkman, 2009, p. 137). The improvement of interaction with other people was one of the main goals of my PDP. During this semester, I have changed how I relate with people by leaving more time for the interaction with them. I was able to achieve this by seeking an elective post as a representative in one of the professional clubs at the school. Acquiring this leadership position was important for my development of leadership skills. The acquisition of this post has also helped me develop communication skills since I had to communicate the needs and issues of the club members to the club leaders. It has also made me a good listener and a more focused person due to having other responsibilities besides schoolwork.
I also intended to improve my social interactions inside and outside the campus. One effective way that I chose to achieve this goal was getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Choosing a sport or a club was not easy because I am not too athletic. However, I knew the importance of this and thus decided to join the badminton team and have become an active and competent badminton player over time. Having an extra-curricular activity and a social group outside of classroom has enabled me to deal with stress more effectively. It has also allowed me to relax actively and to live a more productive life. Joining the badminton team has proved to be helpful and beneficial in many ways.
On the issue of time management, I planned a weekly schedule of the things I would be doing every week in order to make sure that I was not falling behind on time. The weekly schedules have been effective but I have had problems achieving some of the overall goals set for the semester. The time schedule has been a difficult one to follow due to overcrowding and poor execution. Some of the milestones that had to be achieved by the end of the semester such as reading inspirational books have not been completed. The schedule made for the reading of inspirational literature has been too overcrowded, and I have only achieved half of what I had planned. According to Zenger and Folkman (2009), Inspirational literature is very important for motivation (p. 24). My inability to finish the reading plan is bothering and discouraging. This highlights a time management problem that I have to take into account in the next personal development plan.
A reflection on my performance
My academic performance during the semester has been at par with other semesters. There has not been any considerable difference in my performance, which is not satisfactory. I intended to improve my GPA performance every semester in order to graduate with honors. Therefore, more needs to be done and dedicating more time to studying is necessary. According to my PDP, I required to achieve an average of 70% in all the tests and assignments before the end of the semester. The more time spent consulting the lecturers and instructors has only had a marginal effect on my performance. This implies that more time should be spent on doing so in order to achieve the desired results. One of my instructors said that what I needed was more practice as opposed to theory. Changes in the amount of practice required have not been implemented effectively since the results have not been satisfactory.
Gaining hands-on experience in the field has been an important factor and determinant of success. I intended to work part time during my free time to gain experience and practice in the field to aid the theory learned in class. This step has only been partially achieved because I could not secure employment in my field of specialization. The job I acquired was in car sales, which is not what I consider perfect for the practicing of the skills learned in my course of study. I actually spent more time than the experience I gained was worth. Yet in my next PDP I will surely include more time for finding suitable work to ensure that experience is gained in the perfect field and the perfect job.
Overall, I have learned that I have potential I have not been utilizing. Previously, I could not find time to engage in other activities besides class work, yet I did not perform exceptionally well. I have discovered that I can live a more holistic life without compromising the time spent on studies. Planning has enabled me to visualize what needs to be achieved and decide how to achieve it. I learned that my poor performance in school has been the result of little or no practice. It has also shown me that personal skills are important, and they are not as difficult to learn as I thought earlier.
PDP for the next four semesters
My current performance level is average and needs to be improved by the end of the semester to ensure that I graduate with honors. Therefore, more time will have to be spent on activities that improve the amount of knowledge gained during class time and outside of class. Practice is also required; therefore, the time spent practicing the learned skills will have to be increased over the next four semesters. My academic performance is the most important aspect of my studies, thus more time will be dedicated to it alongside the inclusion of other activities such as sports. I will keep a record of the activities that I am involved in concerning work experience, personal character development, and other life experiences. The main aim of the plan will be to achieve the knowledge and skills that will match the market requirements (Fry, 2009, p. 120).
The plan will also integrate academic development with personal development. Personal learning activities such as spending more time in the library conducting research on some important aspects of my professional field will also be considered. This means that I will require dedicating more time to find work that is in line with my field. This learning experience will be aimed at learning from other people and encompassing the learned ideas and methods into my skill set (Niven, 2006, p. 295). Developmental changes are necessary to ensure improvements in the overall well-being of my career prospects. I will undertake more involvement in social activities and situations to develop confidence. The goal is to attend at least one social event every two weeks. In addition, acquisition of leadership and interpersonal skills will be given proper attention since these skills are what the professional world requires.
Establishment of learning habits will become a major part of the plan since life is all about continuous learning (Fry, 2009, p. 124). Motivational literature will form a significant part of my learning culture and habits. I will improve my time management skills to ensure that I read two or more motivational books every month. In order to improve my employment prospects and recognize the weak points I need to work on, I will ask one teacher to become my mentor. I will then make sure that I meet with the teacher at least once a semester. During these meetings with the teacher, I will ask for feedback on my career prospects in the field and the type of skills I need to work on. I will also ensure that the teacher gets a chance to criticize my efforts and improvements, and suggest areas for improvement.
Another important aspect of life that has to be included in the development plan is the achievement of financial goals. This is one of my main weaknesses and it was not included in the previous PDP. The goal is to achieve financial freedom and independence by the end of the four semesters. This will be achieved by ensuring that I obtain the habit of saving money. I will save half of the money that I earn during holidays. Doing so I aim to save at least $ 5,000 every year. These savings will be used to cover living expenses upon completion of my course of study until I get a permanent job. This goal will be achieved by ensuring that I change my spending habits to only spend on the necessary things. Avoidance of unnecessary and non-value adding activities will be the main weapon against excessive expenditures.
The personal development plan is very important in enabling the tracking of developmental changes that are necessary for the achievement of set goals. Planning is very important since it provides a medium for a person to set goals and decide how they will have to be achieved. My personal development plan will…
Professional development is an essential condition of the successful and efficient work of all specialists, especially those working in the field of the mental health care. At the same time professional development cannot occur on the occasional basis, instead a carefully developed personal development plan is needed in order to clearly identify the objectives an individual wants to meet at the end of a definite period of time. Basically, the personal development plan as a constituent element and essential condition of the professional development should be well structured and include, along with clearly stated objectives the thoroughly planned ways of their achievement. On the other hand, on developing a personal development plan it is equally important to take into consideration possible difficulties an individual may face in the process of the realization of the plan. On the basis of these basic points I would attempt to develop my personal development plan in respect to my professional career.
From the beginning, it is important to underline that nowadays the creation of the personal development plan is a process where the participant has rather an active than a passive role (Munford 1997) that means that I need to focus on the areas that are the most problematic for me and which are the most important for people I am going to work with, including service users, colleagues, social workers, etc. Unquestionably, the main purpose of the personal development plan, as Armstrong defines it, is to improve performance in oneâs job (1996).
This purpose is very important because, otherwise, the professional development is practically impossible since individuals that stop their professional development gradually degrade and their professional skills and abilities are getting to be poor and do not meet professional requirements at the moment. This is why I, having a training certificate in care assistance on self-sponsored, am currently on a two-year programme in Mental Health Branch. It is worthy of mention that I am very interested in this work due to my caring nature and my natural kindness of protecting and providing caring support to vulnerable people.
At the same time, I realize that my professional level is insufficient for highly professional work in this field. Obviously, I realize that personal development plan is really essential to me but it is impossible to work out the plan of my professional growth without knowedge of the current situation and basic demands a professional nurse has to meet. In this respect, I need to constantly improve my professional work, knowledge, skills and abilities, taking into consideration the recent trends in mental health care system as well as in national legislation at large.
Consequently, it is necessary to take national legislation and recent scientific researches as the basis of my professional development. First of all, it should be pointed out that the current social and health policy is based on such initiatives as National Service Framework for mental health Department of Health (1995) and the National Service Framework for older people Department of Health (2001) that define standards of the today mental health and social policies that are designed to deliver the national plan of the Government issued in September 1999.
In fact, these initiatives define the basic standards a professional working in the mental health and social services should meet. This is why these standards may be the basic objectives of my personal development plan that could provide my professional growth and let me remain up-to-date with recent trends in the field I am currently working in. To put it more precisely there are seven standards, including the promotion of the mental health, primary care and access to services, effective service for people with severe mental illness, caring about cares and preventing suicide, safe services for mental health service users.
In this respect, it is important to underline the extent to which the attitude to people with mental health problems has changed. What is meant here is the fact that nowadays mental health is more significant concept than mental illness which sounds quite discriminatory for people with mental health problems. Moreover, the mental illness conception to a certain extent contributes to the development of the negative attitude to people with mental health problems form the part of their surrounding that leads to their social exclusion and lo self-esteem. Evans and Repper (2000) underline that because of discrimination and labeling employers are reluctant to employ people with mental health problems. Moreover, according to Mind (2001) the negative attitude of society to people with mental health problems is enforced by stigma, discrimination and negative media coverage that lead to the deprived life of people with mental illness.
This is why, nowadays, it is more important to speak about mental health at large. It should be pointed out that the World Health Organization (1986) defines health as a complete physical, mental and social well-being with merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Moreover, according to the Mental Health Act (1983), national mental health policies should not be solely concerned with mental illness but address the broader issues affecting the mental health of all sectors of society. In this respect, it is worthy of underlining that NSF requires health and social services to promote mental health for all, working with individuals and communities to combat discrimination against individuals and groups with mental health problems.
In such a context, I, being a mental health professional, should help people with mental health problems to pursue life purposes and climaxes in the fulfillment of their own life purpose. Moreover, I should develop my skills and abilities to work with such people without stereotyping them and treating them as equal members of the society upbringing certain sense in their life. Also I should concentrate on the work with families and carers in order to develop normal therapeutic relationship with patients. At the same time, it is equally important to learn to deal with and educate individuals or groups about negative perception, prejudice, or stigmatization of mental illness.
In fact, I am fully conscious of the high responsibility of my work since, as Fernando (1998) stresses, nurses work within the environment in which the law has an effect upon the delivery and the outcome of their care. This is why I need to increase my knowledge and understanding of legislative processes that directly affect psychiatry and also the current mental health law as applicable to the environment in which I will practice. At the same time, it is also necessary to remember about ethical issues which are also of a paramount importance.
Practically, it means that it is necessary to make patients conscious of the fact that, in certain situations, I am obliged to share information I receive from them with other professionals, notably when it concerns directly their health. For instance, in a recent clinical placement, I witnessed the situation when a patient, whose section 3 duration had lapsed, refused medication. The duty doctor assessed the doctor after the nurse in charge had sought his opinion on the patientâs destructive behaviour. The duty doctor sanctioned the seclusion and there was continuous observation of the patient. Such example demonstrates the extent to which legal and ethical issues are intertwined.
At the same time, it is also obvious that nurses have the most frequent contact with patients. Consequently, the development of therapeutic relationship is essential and this can contribute to their healing. As I noticed from my practice, following the recommendations of Nurse and Midwife council (2004), that the behaivour and mental health of patients may improve when I, as a nurse, recognize and respect patients as individuals, obtain consent before giving treatment, maintain confidentiality, cooperate with the team and when I am trustworthy.
At the same time, my professional competence is also of paramount importance. Obviously, to improve my professional level I need to further learn talking therapy, restraint and control, and breakaway technique. Also my drug calculations must be error free since errors here are unacceptable. Basically, I suppose to promote my competence by utilizing learning aids available at the university and by taking a cue for good practice as demonstrate by senior colleagues and mentors.
Finally, I am going to work in multi-ethnic community. This is why I need to develop my knowledge concerning ethnic peculiarities and socio-cultural issues typical for such a diverse community. On the other hand, the work in such a community makes the close cooperation with social workers particularly important.
Thus, in conclusion, I should say that I clearly realize the necessity of my further professional development which should be based on the profound knowledge and understanding of the current legislation as well as the necessity to develop my social and communicative skills. Also, I need to constantly promote my professional competence in order to eliminate the possibility of any errors in my work. This is why I need to keep learning and progress in accordance with the basic demands and goals I need to meet as a professional working in the mental health service.
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15. WHO(1986) http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/ www.who.int/about/definition/en (online) accessed 25 Dec. 2006.
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