New Year, New Goals: Advice on organising your CPD and career goals from an careers adviser (me).

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

Hello blog readers, hope you had a great Christmas. I am definitely having a good one, as we go into the New Year I’m taking stock and thinking about the things that I want to achieve in 2015. I suppose for nearly 4 years I had a very definite goal: become a practising OT, now I’ve achieved that, I’m wondering what’s next for the OT process and me in general.

Well, I can almost hear my university lecturers wagging their fingers at me and telling me the importance of continuing professional development (CPD). Basically, CPD is really important to keep our skills and knowledge up to date to be able to practice safely, legally and effectively (College of Occupational Therapists [COT], 2010; Health and Care Professions Council [HCPC], 2012a).

Coming to the profession late on, I feel that I need to be more focused about my goals so I know how I’m going to achieve them. When I was a careers adviser I made the mistake of drifting into things. Oh, the irony! Well, I felt like I had all the time in the world when I was in my twenties. Now I’m sailing ever closer to my forties (gulp), I feel I haven’t got a moment to lose.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t live my life any differently. As a careers adviser I learned lots about helping people, being professional, and also about myself. I also learned to think about the things in jobs that people enjoy or are good at and use this as a basis to plan career goals. Do more of the good stuff. I also learned to be on the lookout for opportunities that arise that enable people to get nearer their goals. Life is short and I want to enjoy every second of it, whether it be work, leisure, or er…self care.

My CPD strategy for 2015 is split into two sections:

  1. Improvement: Identifying what you need to improve to be able to do your job better. Ask yourself, to be better at my job do I:
  • Need to know more about certain conditions?
  • Need to improve my anatomy of a certain area?
  • Need to know about certain services or departments that you can refer to that could assist your clients?
  • Need to know about certain guidelines or legislation?
  • Are there any skills I need to improve to do my job better? (e.g. communication, assessment, keeping calm, or prioritisation).

Improvment in these areas will improve your clinical reasoning.

2.Alignment. Taking opportunities to get you nearer you goals. Ask yourself:

  • What do I enjoy?
  • What am I good at?
  • How important is work to me? Do I want to be promoted/go up the bands/earn more money?
  • Do I want to work in a certain area or service?
  • Where do I want to be in my career in one year and in 5 years? Or however long you want to see into the future.
  • Do I want to manage people?

You may not be able to think of these things sat in front of a computer screen, I find it hard too. So just put it on your mental backburner and when you’re in work you may suddenly come across a situation that makes you think. Just write it down and come back to it later when you’ve got space to think about it some more.

Now you’ve got your goals, we need to think about the methods that we can achieve these. You’ll find suggestions of ways that you can achive these. on p.27 of the HCPC CPD document

Obvious ones are self-directed learning (or Googling it, to you and me), going on courses, or being a mentor. There may be obvious ways in your service that you can achieve these goals, some may require a little more thinking. For example if you wanted to improve your knowledge of dementia your service may run an awareness course or you may look at doing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in dementia for a more in-depth understanding. Anyway I’ll leave that up to you to look into.

OK, so now you’ve got your goals and your strategies of how you’re going to achieve them. It’s now time to prioritise. I like to do 2 lists: priority to you and priority for the service. Rate from 1-4. One is the most important. Add up each goals score. The lower the score, that’s the first one your tackle, the second lowest, the second one you tackle and so on.

carers192

So I’ve worked out my goals for this year (the ones in the picture are for illustration only and do not reflect my goals), I felt a bit torn about sharing them as I’m quite a private person but feel if I put my goals in black and white it will give me extra impetus to achieve them. However caution wins as usual, so I’ll keep them to myself at the moment.

Good luck with your goals for 2015 and I hope this post helps you achieve them!

Have a happy and healthy 2015 and thanks again for reading The OT process.

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