The importance of Personal Development Plans
When ECPD came in last year, all dentists had to have their Personal Development Plans (PDP) completed and on file by 1 January 2018, all other registrants had to complete theirs by 1 August 2018.
The purpose of a Personal Development Plan is for dental registrants to sit down and think about where they want their career to go and then create a plan for the next five years. They must then give a copy of the PDP to practices where they work as the CQC are now checking for them.
However, what we’ve noticed from practice inspections is that very few registrants seemed to have created a PDP that meets the new standards. Rather, they have seen the PDP as yet another ‘compliance task’ and have either misunderstood the requirements or just haven’t created one. Declaring a planned PDP for the rest of the current cycle at your renewal last year and then not following it up could land you in trouble with the GDC if records are randomly requested. You can find out more about Personal Development Plans on the General Dental Council website.
So why was it introduced?
CPD in dentistry has resulted in some registrants just trying to get as many hours done as possible to tick the CPD box. We’ve even seen this at CODE, with less numbers joining our non-CPD webinars than our CPD ones. CPD hours seemingly being the draw over the content of the lecture.
It seems that the GDC wanted to put an end to this culture and instead encourage registrants to use their CPD for career progression.
As registrants are professionals, the ECPD scheme appears angled to empower team members, rather than dictate they do core topics that don’t match their career trajectory. Removing these core subjects, as well as non-verifiable CPD that has no learning quality assurance and could be seen as encouraging people just to ‘do the hours’, has allowed dental professionals to be more strategic about their careers.
Strategy and empowerment
It’s well known that a business with a strategy will achieve more than a business without one. They may not achieve all their goals, but they will get a lot further than practices that haven’t established who they are and where they want to go.
In interviews, ‘What is your five-year plan?’ often crops up in order to judge whether or not a candidate is committed to their field of work. In a similar manner, the GDC are encouraging and expecting registrants to take strategic control of their career – they want you to think about who you are, where your weaknesses are, what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. We can only see this as a massive positive for the profession rather than unnecessary ‘compliance’.
What you need to do
If you’re an iComply member you can read the handy CODE guide (M 223) that condenses the twenty-page GDC guidance into just five pages! It all revolves around keeping a ‘CPD record’, for which you need:
- A Personal Development Plan (M 223B), (M 223C) or (M 223D)
- A CPD activity log (M 223A)
- Documentary evidence (e.g. a certificate) for all completed CPD activity
- Evidence of reflection after CPD activity (M 223A)
Those are only the headlines, so let’s break it down and go through the specific requirements and how we tackle them with CODE documents.
The CPD for each cycle must be planned in advance using a PDP, which should be reviewed, and updated if necessary (we recommend on an annual basis). This annual review should include reflection on the previous year’s activities and is automatically scheduled each year in the iComply application. CODE has provided PDP templates for Dentists (M 223B), Dental Nurses (M 223C), or Hygienists and Therapists (M 223D).
A PDP must include:
- The CPD you plan to undertake for your cycle, which must include CPD that is relevant to your current or intended field(s) of practice
- The development outcomes for each learning activity:
- (A) Effective communication with patients
- (B) Effective management of self and effective management of others
- (C) Maintenance and development of knowledge and skill within your field of practice
- (D) Maintenance of skills, behaviours and attitudes which maintain patient confidence in you
- The timeframes which you expect to complete your CPD over your 5-year cycle
As part of your CPD record you must keep a log of all verifiable activity. CODE has provided an Activity Log template (M 223A).
You need to record:
- The title and description of the CPD activity you completed
- The date(s) it was undertaken
- The number of hours, as shown on the evidence of completion (e.g. certificate)
- The GDC’s development outcome(s) achieved from each CPD activity
- Proof that reflection has taken place after the activity
After carrying out CPD activity, registrants must reflect on the benefits of the activity and whether it helped them to meet their goals. As mentioned previously, the CODE approach for efficiency is that reflection is carried out on an annual basis, as part of the PDP review process.
It’s also important to remember that you must keep all the evidence you collect for the duration of your five-year cycle, and for five years after the completed cycle, in case the GDC requests to see your CPD record.
If you haven’t already, we would recommend you:
- Read CODE’s overview
- Complete your Personal Development Plan for your CPD cycle (M 223B, C or D)
- Carry out your CPD activity for the year
- Complete your CPD Activity log (M 223A) and reflect on your CPD
- Review your PDP annually, after reflection, and change if necessary
A step forward
Whilst creating a PDP may feel like an extra layer of admin to complete, we truly believe that this is a positive step forward for the dental profession and registrants.
Additionally, the new rules allow registrants to expand their scope of learning to include business and compliance CPD that generally wouldn’t have been allowable as ‘verifiable’ under the old rules.