7 Steps to Get the Most From Your Continued Professional Development


Published: 16 August 2016

Are you frustrated by the money and time spent on professional development (PD) for yourself or your team, with no perceived return on investment (ROI)?

We know that professional development in nursing is necessary and we know it is part of our registration standards (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2016).

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could learn faster, take in more and then take action?

This would be a ‘win-win’ situation, as the lessons learned could be bought back and implemented, or shared in practice.

When you calculate the return on investment in any training program they often fall short (Paramoure 2015). It may be as simple as including these seven simple steps to improve learning. This will affect the ROI and more importantly, the change in practice and learnings, that can be implemented and shared with the rest of the team.

How To Calculate ROI

ROI = Program Benefits – Program Costs/Program Costs X 100%

(Learning.How n.d.)

We can equate the ‘program benefits’ to a learning shared and a change in practice for simplicity.

Learn Faster

Nurture your brain by learning.

7 Steps to Learn Faster

These steps are not only for workplace education programs – they are for all kinds of learning.

Bring an Intention

  • Begin any learning journey with an intention in mind
  • Write it down
  • Ask yourself this question: what do I absolutely want to learn?
  • Keep this intention at the front of your mind during any education session or interaction

Start with a Summary

  • Look at what you are planning to do
  • Read a book, attend a meeting, go to a movie
  • Get the summary or ask the purpose
  • Only go beyond the summary if you find relevance and impact
  • Only spend time on the things that will get you to where you want to go

Learn from the Experts

  • Look for the experts in this field and learn from them
  • Who else has done this, who has what you want?
  • Now interview them and learn their path
  • If you can’t interview them, interview someone they know
  • Ask the question: is this the knowledge that you are trying to learn? If not, move on

Creative Expression

  • Accelerates learning
  • Write down, draw, verbalise and teach what you learned
  • Never be a passenger in your learning
  • Hear it, then do something
  • Formulate your own interpretation and how to express it
  • Verbalise and share it – that’s how you advance your learning

Learn How to Speed Read

  • Spend the next 30 days practicing how to speed read
  • There are plenty of books and internet information on the topic
  • Challenge yourself to spend twenty minutes a day for the next thirty days speed reading
  • Bring someone else on board to make it fun
  • Enjoy the ride and don’t give up if it gets tough

Develop a Framework

  • Organise everything you learn into categories or boxes in your mind
  • Chunk it down to manageable content using lists, steps or acronyms
  • The mind will remember the categories or the steps more than the whole content

Remember Fewer Things

  • Don’t learn too many things. This sounds counterintuitive, but resist the urge and only focus on the areas that will take you where you want to go
  • Let the others go
  • Learn faster from learning what to let go

(Burchard, 2014)

Learn Faster

Use the 7 Steps

As a health professional, it is increasingly important to keep up to date with contemporary and evidence-based practice, and to bring these ideas and tools to life to benefit the patients (Harmer 2014).

It is not ok to let our learning become stagnant in our profession. Use these seven steps at your next education session, for a meeting or any interaction that you have with other people in and out of work.

I would love to know the difference it makes and if you have a favourite step.

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Portrait of Di Kenyon
Di Kenyon

Di Kenyon is passionate about leadership, culture and what makes people tick. She has over 30 years in the nursing industry in many roles including clinical, stomal therapy and wound care, education and leadership. She has moved from full-time nursing to being a consultant in her own business where she will continue to influence people in the industry on leadership, mindset, team building and continuous improvement through innovation. Qualifications Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Meta Dynamics. Level 2 Extended DISC Behavioural Profiler. Credentialed Practitioner Coaching. Grad Dip Further Education and Training (USQ). Grad Cert Management (CSU). Cert 1V TAA. See Educator Profile

It’s not done until it’s documented