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'Making your personal development plan right for you'

Hannah Simpson
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Now in my final year of nursing, it is time for me and many other student nurses to write our final personal development plan.

A personal development plan (PDP) is something that you are supposed to write at the start of each year, detailing your goals for practice and theory and how you are going to achieve them.

I have found PDPs difficult to write, especially at the start of the year as all the modules are launching. My goal is to stay calm and not be overwhelmed by it all, as thinking about the end of the year seems impossible. But this is my final year writing PDPs and I have some tips to share.

Remember the PDP is for you

Although personal tutors at university will look at your PDPs, they are designed for you. The whole point of a PDP is to make it personal to you – not to write what you think your personal tutors wants to read.

The goals you want to set yourself should be things that you actually want to achieve. If the goal is personal to you, you are far more likely to put your energy into achieving it.

Make your PDP realistic

Being a student nurse is stressful and the last thing you need is to set yourself an unrealistic goal in either practice or theory – so be realistic.

Think about your current skillset and your goal. Then think about what needs to be done to get you to where you want to be and whether this will be realistic once you are juggling placement, university, family and friends.

Don’t make things hard for yourself as you can’t do everything at once. Consider all the little steps that will help you to get to where you want to be and take it each step at a time.

Talk to people about your PDP

If you’ve written about wanting a certain experience in practice within your PDP – for example spending time with a psychologist – then when you go into placement and have your initial interview, let them know about your burning interest to work with psychology or whatever you included in your PDP.

The same goes for theory. If you have written about being more critical in your assignments then speak with lecturers for advice on how you can do this.

PDPs are your goals for the year, so it is your responsibility to do things throughout the year that bring you closer to where you want to be.

Hannah Simpson is a third-year learning disability nursing student at De Montfort University

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