The Planning Phase of the CPD Cycle
The CPD cycle breaks down the task of completing a CPD activity into four sections: planning, learning, documenting, and reflecting. Each new CPD cycle commences at the beginning of a registration period and concludes with the renewal of registration with your annual declaration. As the new CPD year has just begun on 1 June, now is the perfect time for nurses and midwives to effectively plan your CPD for the 2023-2024 CPD year.
This article will focus on the planning phase of the CPD cycle, providing insights and guidance to help create your learning plan.
The Importance of Planning
Planning is a crucial step in CPD as it leads to positive learning outcomes and evidence-based improvements in practice. According to the CPD Guidelines by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) in 2016, 'You will get the most benefit from your CPD activities by planning your learning goals and the activities to meet these goals, completing your CPD, and then recording reflections on your learning.'
What Does Planning Involve?
The planning phase encompasses several essential elements, including self-reflection, goal-setting, activity selection, and a review of your context of practice. Begin by reflecting on your own knowledge, skills, and practice gaps to identify areas that you would benefit from additional learning during the CPD year. Allocate time to setting goals based on these identified learning needs. Assess the types of activities that would be suitable for addressing and narrowing these professional practice gaps. Crucially, ensure that the identified needs, goals, and activities align with your current context of practice. If you are considering a career change or transition, and/or anticipate that this year your context of practice may change then you may wish to consider tailoring your CPD activities to the new role or speciality area you are looking to move to to help prepare for that change.
During the planning phase, there are several practical considerations to keep in mind. Your learning plan must be documented in your CPD Portfolio. Remember that planning is driven by your own self-reflection, and you are responsible for your CPD planning. It can be helpful to discuss your plan with colleagues, supervisors, mentors, or other peers. Feedback from performance reviews or even patients/clients can provide valuable insights for your planning process. It's important to note that planning time does not count as CPD, and you cannot document planning as a CPD activity. However, engaging in this phase is expected, and you will need to show evidence of this if you undergo an audit. Allocate dedicated time for planning, preferably at the start of the new CPD cycle, which is now!
Once your Learning Plan has been created it’s time to start learning! However, as we know, plans can change so during the CPD cycle, it is essential to make time to review your learning plan. This allows you to stay on track, make adjustments if necessary, and ensure that your goals are being met.
In summary, when documenting your learning plan, remember to include your identified learning needs, an up-to-date context of practice, your goals for the CPD year, and the planned CPD activities linked to those goals.
By thoroughly engaging in the planning phase of the CPD cycle, you will enhance your own learning outcomes, close practice gaps, and foster evidence-based improvements in your professional practice. Patients and people in your care will benefit from an informed, empowered and educated nurse or midwife. It’s also a great vehicle for upskilling and advancing your career. So, take the time now to plan your CPD and set yourself on the path to success for this 2023-2024 CPD year.
Nursing and Midwifery Board. Registration Standards [Internet]. Melbourne (AU): Aphra; 2021 Mar 15 [cited 2023 May 1]. Available from: https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards.aspx
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Nursing and Midwifery Board. Guidelines: Continuing professional development [Internet]. Melbourne (AU): Aphra; 2016 Jun 1 [cited 2023 May 1]. Available from: https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards/Continuing-professional-development.aspx
Nursing and Midwifery Board. Fact sheet: Continuing professional development [Internet]. Melbourne (AU): Aphra; 2022 May [cited 2023 May 1]. Available from: https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards/Continuing-professional-development.aspx
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