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Reflections on Professional Development Plan


Professional placement experience is a required for a nursing students and it is part of the course. As stated by Timperley et al (2009), professional placement experience is a crucial part of the training of nurse students to gain field-oriented experience. To make the most of out the session, Guskey & Yoon (2009) recommend that students plan effectively for the session. This is why a professional development plan becomes critical for a nursing student (Tibballs, 2011). According to Parshuram et al (2009), professional development plan is not only useful to the student during the professional placement experience, but also helps to check on one’s careers once in practise as a registered nurse. Equally important to professional development plan is the reflection on the development plan (Howatson-Jones, 2010). This essay will be a reflection on my professional development plan to be used during my professional placement experience. The reflection will be done following John’s Model of Reflection (1994).

As stated by Cashell (2010), reflection is an act of training that is adaptable and encourages independent knowledge that helps to direct students towards mind and analytical thinking capabilities. While reflection on a professional development plan has to be done after the plan has been developed, or after the activity has been undertaken, it helps to link model and exercise thereby experiencing the interaction of services, information and the context of the healthcare (Townley et al., 2011). Reflection can be done as a pre-service after the development plan has been created to help cover any loopholes, as an in-service to improve and develop the plan for better experience or help realize the set goals, or as an aftermath which helps to set the platform for any future similar undertakings. For this case, the scenario is a pre-service.


Description of the experience

It is a requirement that for a nursing student to complete the training curse and graduate, a professional placement experience be undertaken (ACSQHC, 2011). During the professional placement, I plant o make the most out of the exercise and gain more practically oriented expertise with field settings on the care and management of patients. In particular, my intention is to establish the care and management for patients who health is deteriorating. As noted by Teasdale (2009), the deteriorating health of a patient has the potential to result to mortality in the shortest time. To avert this, appropriate nurse care is required to ensure that the early signs of health deterioration are noted and the right nursing measures taken to stabilize the health of the patients.

This intention is to be guided by the goal of seeking to increase my knowledge and skills in analyzing and interpreting assessment data accurately, which helps me as a nurse to critically think to solve problems and find a suitable solution on the improvement of critically ill patient’s health. The development plan is structured to enhance the realization of this objective. The plan provides a framework to govern my activities during the professional placement experience.

It is expected that there will be a timetable provided by the placement institution. The development plan has been set provider an action plan towards the realization of the set goal. In addition, an evaluation strategy is also set to ensure that after each session, learning occurs and progress is being made towards the realization of the goals. According to Guskey & Yoon, (2009) it is essential to ensure that the development plan works, and this can be done through having an effective plan, and elaborate test strategy in the form of evaluation.



Professional development plan has several purposes among them; ensure quality learning (Rodriguez & McKay, 2010).  This is the primary objective of my professional development plan. It is a plan to ensure that learning happens during the professional development experience. In addition, it is also a way to ensure that the professional placement experience time is effectively managed by planning on what to do and what to achieve. The plan is framework on what to be achieved and the goal of the plan is the guide.

Having a development plan is a prudent way to ensure progress is ones career or simply in an activity undertaken (Parshuram et al., 2009). The intention of creating the action plan is to ensure that a certain area of competency is targeted for improvement during the professional placement experience. Moreover, the nursing profession as stated by Guskey & Yoon, (2009) is characterized by professional development plans that are written before and activity, during, and after to ensure that; the activity is well executed, the required standards and regulations are observed, and to seek ways to better the service in the future.

The rationale of the professional development plan is to narrow down to the area of competency on deteriorating patients’ health. According to Graham & Cvach, (2010) patients whose health is deteriorating have the potential to mortality if not effectively addressed. This therefore means, the area of deteriorating patients health is a critical area for the nursing profession. It is because of this criticality that the professional development plan focuses on the area of competency.

Given the goal of the plan and the action plan, I feel contented that the plan is appropriately structured because it will enable the realization of the set goal.


Influencing factors

During the professional placement experience, it is expected that there will be several factors that will influence the success of the plan. According to Hilliard, (2006) the environment is one of the major factors to consider for a professional development plan. In this case, it is expected that the placement experience will be conducted under a supervisor, most likely a registered nurse who will be the guide and the trainer. If so, then the realization of the development plan goal will greatly depend on the guiding nurse.

Secondly, the area of critical patients who have deteriorating health is quite a fragile one (Findlay et al., 2011). According to Singh et al., (2008) the majority of patients with unstable health conditions are placed in the ICU and assigned registered nurse for their care. In such a case, access to the ICU is limited to only the assigned nurses and doctors treating the patient (Chapman et al., 2009). This restrictive access to patients with deteriorating health is factors that might affect the realization of the development plan goals as interest is in the care of patients with deteriorating health and how to note the signs and symptoms early to prevent the deterioration.



Given this professional development plan is yet to be implemented, the majority of what can be learned is through literature reviews as well as through persons who have undergone professional placement experience and practicing nurses. According to Rodriguez & McKay, (2010) a thorough professional development pan should; one, provide a clear reference to the competency to be improved. During the professional placement experience, I want to improve on the care for patients with deteriorating health. This has been clearly established in the development plan. The rationale identifies the important of the competency and why practical expertise to improve on the same is crucial. Two, a development plan should provide the learning objective. According to the Royal College of Nursing (2007) this can be in the form of the goals of the development plan. In my professional development plan, the goal to be realized during the professional placement experience is clearly stated. Third, the plan should lay a clear strategy on the realization of the learning objective. In this case and as stated by Harley & Timmons, (2010) the how to is contained in the action plan. The development plan indicates a clear action plan which is tom be used to ensure that effective learning and understanding of the competency to be improved. Lastly, the learning phase of the model requires a clear date on which the plan is to be considered complete (Timperley et al., 2009). Even though the professional development plan does not have a clear cut date, this is dependent on the professional placement experience duration, which is primary determined by the placement institution.


Could I have dealt with it better?

As the saying goal, “there is always room for improvement.” However, so far, the professional development plan is considered as been optimum. According to Howatson-Jones, (2010) the purpose of a development plan is to realize the set goals, which is to ensure learning takes place, is met. Based on the action plan, it is concluded that the goal set in the development plan will be achieved and the overall goal of professional development plan will be realized.

However, given this is a pre-service reflection and the professional placement experience is still to be undertaken, I will be revising and updating the plan accordingly to ensure the most is realized from the experience. For example, it is not yet known how the facility of placement is to plan the activities of the experience. Once this is known, hopefully during the first days of the placement, the development plan is to be synchronized with the activities.



Professional development plan is an essential tool not only in the nursing professional, but also across other careers. This reflection on my professional placement experience development plan is meant to ensure that the plan is optimum and suited for the realization of the goal set in the plan as well as the goals of a development plan which is to promote learning. The reflection is on a pre-service basis because the placement experience has not yet begun. Based on John’s Model of Reflection (1994), it is concluded that the development plan is appropriate for the placement experience because it bears the action plan towards realization of the set goal and the evaluation to ensure that happens. However, in-service reflection will also be done once the placement experience begins and the development plan will be revised accordingly to enhance maximum learning during the experience.


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