Paper Example on Professional Development

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  16
Wordcount:  4172 Words
Date:  2022-07-15

Importance of Continually Improving Knowledge and Practice

The importance of continually improving my knowledge and working practice is to make sure that I am aware of and adhere to all the current Health and social care standards, legislations and guidelines for good practice in my work place.

Professional development refers to the acquisition of skills and knowledge both for personal development and for career enhancement.

Improving my personal development benefits not only me, but the company I work for, my staff and the Customers for who I care for. It enables me to keep up to date and change proactively to make sure that the service I offer is relevant and appropriate to care for my customers. The customers must be confident that they can trust the people that they receive the care from and that they know what they are doing and do it well. This should be an ongoing activity which is the norm for a care organisation which will enhance the quality of their work, make staff happier which can only make for positive outcomes for the care service, customers and the staff.

As the Care Team Leader of the care service I am responsible for others such as staff, customers, the customers families and visitors etc. so it is imperative that I am knowledgeable in all areas of management to enable me to manage effectively and within the legislations set out by CQC Continuing my professional development has been important for my career and has and will continue to help me progress throughout my chosen career.

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Potential Barriers to Professional Development

Potential barriers to continuing professional development could be:

Lack of budget from the organisation an adequate training budget should be in place and agreed each year to keep up to date with ongoing and new training courses.

Lack of supportive staff staff that are only concerned with earning their wage each month without caring about the knowledge and training to care for customers properly.

No time to train adequate time needs to be set aside for each staff member so that they understand and are confident it what they are learning and can put it into practice.

No encouragement from management/senior staff Management suggesting and encouraging suitable/mandatory training courses and supporting staff through these.

Inadequate regular supervisions Monthly supervisions to talk privately with staff regarding any help or training requirements is imperative. Staff need to be able to talk openly with management to be able to continue their professional development. It also helps for management to have an open door policy so that staff do not have to wait for the monthly supervision and can continue to improve daily from management experience. These are all Organisational barriers but we can also have personal barriers which prevent professional development. These could be

Low self-esteem If an individual lacks confidence, this can affect how much they are willing to learn

Transport issues If a company are not able to offer in house training or training courses on site and have to go to other training venues it could involve costs that the individual is not willing/able to pay so this needs to be discussed with management.

Childcare issues If a training course is not during normal working hours this could lead to no childcare and can prevent the individual from attending essential training courses, therefore not being able to continue to work.

Sick/holiday time If an individual is unable to attend training due to arranged holidays or unexpected sickness can impair their learning or possible promotion in the work place through lack of qualifications.

Use of Different Sources and Systems of Support for Professional Development

We all have a world of knowledge and resources. This can be channelled in either a formal and structured approach or by observations. It all depends on the individuals motivation. Different ways in which professional development can be carried out can be in formal methods such as appraisals and supervisions. I conduct these to assess staffs performances. I look at future goals and identify the needs of the staff member on an individual basis according to the organisations policies and objectives. This will create a plan for them to move forward and identify their training needs to allow them to grow and evolve. This in turn, in the long run helps not only the individual but the organisation.

Shadowing or mentoring is a huge support tool. It is used mostly when employing new members of staff and allows them to see how a more long standing member of staff works. It allows them to pass on their knowledge and expertise and guide them through policies and procedures and allows the new member of staff to find a way in which to work which is in line with these guidelines. The mentor can work with this member of staff throughout their working time; however shadowing/mentoring can be carried out by numerous members of staff on different shifts. This gives the new member of staff different ideas on ways in which to work so that they can find a way of working which is comfortable for them. Within the organisation they can carry out in house training courses to enhance the workers knowledge. This is ongoing throughout the workers time with the organisation. The simplest form of development is the staff communication book.

This can be about any aspect of achieving the highest standards in the care setting. All staff have access to this and can share their knowledge of what has worked well throughout the shift to pass over to the next member of staff working. It can also say what has not worked. This can also be expanded upon in regular staff meetings. It can be discussed in depth and at length with everyone having their say. Within our organisation we also have a policy hub in which the carers can access at anytime if they need to read up on something or are unsure of what is expeted of them. Beyond the organisation external agencies can help the company and individuals with professional development.

These can include CQC, social services, other health professionals buy offering support and their extensive knowledge. External training agencies can offer free training (NVQs) or a more specific training course, which can differ to the in house training an organisation can offer and maybe more beneficial to the employee. They may develop more from a group training session rather than a question and answer knowledge paper. By working alongside all staff members on different shifts it allows me to assess the staff members knowledge and experience in an informal way. I can then pass on my knowledge and ability in a practical setting rather than the formal setting of an appraisal/supervision.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Opportunities and Activities for Keeping Knowledge and Practice up to Date

Prioritising important elements can assist in highlighting what training should be selected. What goals need to be achieved for the customers we have? What training do the staff team want? What training courses are mandatory for a staff team? All these factors need to be considered and then compared to the training budget the organisation has. Cost has to be weighed against what the consequences entail if professional development is not followed through. For example if your customers require lifting/hoisting and the training is missed this could lead to them being left in a very vulnerable position. The management team being up to date on new policies can help them prioritize what training is needed and when.

Time is also a consideration. If you have a large staff team it can be difficult to organise training to which they can all attend. This is also true of the place the training is to be held. Is it more advantageous for the training to be held on site rather than all have to travel to a training facility as travelling can create extra cost. We are just going through the process of rearranging all our training to reduce where it being held. Since starting this position the training has been held at different courts within the organisation and can be up to 10 miles away. This has now been reduced so all training is to be held either in house or the next nearest court. I have found this had has a positive effect within my workplace, more carers are turning up to training session and are enquiring about non mandatory training sessions.

It may be wise for a manager to look at just sending 1 or 2 members of staff on a course to be trainer trained in several important courses so that they can train other staff in these topics. Although it may be a high cost to start off with it can work out more cost effective in the long run, especially if the organisation has a high turnover of staff. These trainers can then train in house as and when required at times suitable for all staff and at times suited to the rota as to not leave the customers in a vulnerable position due to lack of staff on shift. 2.1 Evaluate own knowledge and performance against standards and benchmarks I have worked in the care sector for 6 years. Before I began my career in care as a support worker I was a stay at home mom. Before choosing my career path I did some research on learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviour. A lot of this research was done on the internet getting a snap shot of how to care for the service users.

When I began work I started by doing shadowing shifts which involved shadowing an established member of staff so that I could get to know how things were run and to get to know the service users. On these shifts I also read through my companys policies and procedures. I was given the opportunity to advance my knowledge by attending training courses provided by the company. I found that I could learn more when the course was as part of a group. Learning the codes of practice ensures that I promote and uphold the privacy, dignity and rights of the clients I care for and that I strive to improve the quality of healthcare, care and support through continuing professional development. I achieve this within my job role by ensuring that the customers and their families are informed and included in all aspects of their care planning. The codes of practice state that I am accountable for the quality of my work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving my knowledge and skills.

This means that if there is a course I could benefit from (which in turn benefits the company) then I should be attending it. By obtaining my NVQ 3 qualification and all in house training courses I was promoted to Senior carer and then between myself and the proprietors we set up a home care business from the care home I was working at and got the position of care coordinator. In this position I have to made sure that my staff and I were up to date on the national standards which are set out by CQC. This means that I had to make sure that there were enough members of staff on shift at all times to keep the service users safe and to meet their needs. That I made sure that all members of staff were trained and had the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience needed to meet their health and welfare needs. To ensure that my staff were well managed and had the correct knowledge, skills and experience through training to meet the service users health and welfare needs.

If I failed at this then it means that the service I managed would not meet the essential standards set out by CQC which in turn could mean that the service I ran was shut down meaning all employees out of work and vulnerable adults being let down and left in an extremely vulnerable position. I now work as a care team leader which is a similar role but with a larger establishment. 2.2 Prioritise development goals and targets to meet expected standards We have an extensive training programme which covers a range of topics which is ongoing for staff. These include Emergency first aid, food hygiene, equality, dignity and inclusion, diet and nutrition to name a few. All staff have attend all mandatory courses before they start their shadowing shifts and these are updated as and when required.

We also have a lot of non mandatory courses in which the carers attend and can request to atttend. All staff employed (including relief) all have the opportunity to work towards their NVQ level 2, 3 or 5 All employees files have a record of training showing that there is an ongoing programme of development to make sure that they have undertaken training in key areas such as health and safety, person centered approaches, communication and how to safeguard vulnerable people. Training is monitored to make sure it is kept up to date. Specialist training is completed as and when necessary. I also have a training tracker which enables me to see at a glance who is due for training.

Learning Opportunities to Meet Development Objectives and Reflect Personal Learning Style

As well as training that is delivered by someone we also have workbooks. These are questions on a specific topic. This is a very specific style which does not suit everyone but due to training budget this is a very cost efficient way to train a staff team on all key essential training standards. It is also used as a refresher if I notice a carers standards are slipping. I am a mix between a visual learner and auditory learner, I like to see pictures or watch DVDs and visualising an outcome and also like to learn as a group so that I can discuss the topic and to ask questions as and when I need. This involves the use of seen or observed things including pictures, demonstrations and hand-outs. This is why external agencies coming in or me attending training courses is far more beneficial for me than sitting on my own and learning from a book or doing knowledge papers.

Plan For Own Professional Development

I start my personal development plan by taken a self evaluation, focusing on my strengths as follows:
  1. Motivated person
  2. Eager to learn new skills
  3. Team builder
  4. Interested in the care sector
  5. Caring
I then decide on my goals in my job and where I want to be or what I want to achieve in my job: Now I am a Care Team Leader I want to fully read up on all the essential standards set out by CQC. As I am still fairly new to this post I want to learn everything I can about this job and everything around this. This can not only benefit me but my staff, customers and the business. Keep up to date with the ongoing training.

Book my staff any additional/relevant training courses as and when they require them. I then set my goals/plan out. Part of my development as a Care Team Leader is also gaining my level 5 qualification. This expands on my NVQ level 3 and can only benefit me and the business in the long term.
  1. What is my goal?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. What resources do I need?
  4. Who can help me?
  5. What is my timescale?

Read up and understand all essential standards set out by CQCRead guidance of compliance
Essential standards of quality and safety Sign up for email alerts to keep up to date on any changes
Download and print out a copy of the booklet. (not only for myself but for staff also)
Keep up to date on all training that is available for me
Make sure training is completed on time
Keep up to date on all policies and procedures set out by the business
Complete my level 5 qualification by August 2015
Keep up to date on completing my units
Gain more knowledge and experience
Become a NVQ assesor.
Goals will be added to the development plan as and when

Process to Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Plan

I will evaluate and amend my professional development plan regularly using the SMART technique which is outlined as followed

  • Specific target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
  • Assignable specify who will do it
  • Realistic state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related specify when the results can be achieved

By doing this I will be able to identify any problems or obstacles which may delay my progress and find ways in which to find the time to get back on track or find alternative ways if I am having trouble achieving them in my current way. At my regular supervisions my PDP will be discussed with my manager and the plan can be added to at any time with suggestions from them and additional ideas from myself.

With regular meetings I can see how much I have achieved which will make me strive to achieve so much more but can also identify if the time allocated to a goal is in fact achievable and if not amend the time scale. This is not seen as a failure if not completed when originally said but just adjusting the reality. By completing my level 5 qualification I am setting myself a specific target and my knowledge of the care sector will only expand as I complete each unit. Perhaps learning something I would not of been aware of or looking at a topic in far more depth than I would of done before. I will have outside support from my assessor who will also review if I am setting myself the realistic targets taking into account my day to day role as Care Team Leader and also my personal/family life.

Models of Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning, which some believe is wrong .[1] According to one definition it involves paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively. This leads to developmental insight.[2] Edgar schon an influential writer on reflection, described reflection in two main ways: reflection in action and reflection on action. Reflection on action is looking back after the event whist reflection in action is happening during the event. I have explored these terms and have found the following:

Reflection in Action Means

To think about what one is doing whilst one is doing it; it is typically stimulated by surprise, by something which puzzled the practitioner concerned (Greenwood 1983) Reflection in action allows the person to redesign what they are doing whilst they are doing it. This approach can be used to improve practice by supporting individuals to question their routine work as they carry it out. They may measure their behaviour against their values and values of the organisation to ensure that these are consistent or to try a new approach to an activity and evaluate its success

Reflection on Action Means

The retrospective contemplation of practice undertaken in order to uncover the knowledge used in practical situations, by analysing and interpreting the information recalled (Fitzgerald 1994) I can see with reflection on action that it involves turning information into knowledge, by conducting a cognitive post mortem. This approach allows the worker to look at a specific incident, write a report about it and analyse what happened so they can see what additional knowledge or practical support would have been needed to prevent or give the incident a different outcome.

It allows the person to establish what they can do to be better prepared when faced with a similar experience in the future, as well as providing an opportunity to identify shortcomings in knowledge or skills which can be rectified by themselves or passed onto management to provide specific training to that individual or as a team. Graham Gibbs discussed the use of structured debriefing. He presented the stages of structured debriefing as follows after the initial experience:

Description What happened?
Feelings What were your reactions and feelings?
Evaluation What was good or bad about the experience?
Analysis What sense can you make of the situation?
Conclusion (general) What can be concluded, in a general sense, from these experiences and the analyses you have undertaken?
Conclusion (Specific) What can be concluded about your own specific, unique, personal situation or way of working?
Personal action plans What are you going to do differently in this type of situation next time? What steps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learnt?

Importance of Reflective Practice to Improve Performance

Reflective practice can be an important tool in practice-based professional learning settings where individuals learning from their own professional experiences, rather than from formal teaching or knowledge transfer, may be the most important source of personal professional development and improvement. Further, it is also an important way to be able to bring together theory and practice; through reflection you are able to see and label schools of thought and theory within the context of your work. Reflective practice is important for my growth, to self-evaluate my working practice and so that I can recognise my weaknesses and strengths. Reflective practice enables me to learn from real events and to learn from any mistakes I may have made to help me improve in the future. This can only help in my professional development throughout my career.

Reflective Practice and Feedback From Others to Improve Performance

I use reflective practice on a regular basis in my job role. This comes in many different ways. For example;

From my staff they have a very good working knowledge of the care sector and often make suggestions on how things can work better with ways in which we look after our service users. Suggestions on what did not work for them and how we can help make their lives more fulfilled

CQC They visit our establishment for their checks and they can advise how we can improve our service. Not because we are necessarily doing something wrong but because they can advise on a better way.

From customers family and friends These are the people that know the customers the best and although we as an organisation may do things one way they can advise that this may work a different way for their loved ones. I need to learn to use my reflective practice to adapt and learn new ways. Some of the outcomes in using reflective practice may include making changes to my personal opinions or attitudes, undertaking further training to learn new ways of working or to understand a topic better, listening and seeking advice and help form external sources, colleagues etc, also learning from my own mistakes.

How Practice Has Been Improved Through Reflection

  • Reflection on best practice
  • Reflection on failures and mistakes

Reflection on best practice
Reflection on best practice helps me think about my own efforts and successes or achievements. Reflection is a critical thinking strategy in which i review and analyse my work, making connections between what I have learnt and my efforts. If I find something that works better than it did before I can then pass it on to the staff also vice versa.

Reflection on failures and mistakes
Stating what the failure/mistake was, writing an account of why things went wrong, how it could be avoided, who was at fault can only mean that this will not happen again in the future. It will high light how the incident has changed working practices so that this knowledge can be passed on to other staff members and can be improved upon.

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Paper Example on Professional Development. (2022, Jul 15). Retrieved from

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