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Need help completing your PDP? 04 496 5999

“Your PDP is a running record of your learning needs and an important strategic tool for self-review.”

What is a professional development plan? A professional development plan (PDP) sets out a doctor’s identified development needs and goals, and the actions that they intend to take to meet these goals. A meaningful and appropriate PDP should be informed by data from the doctor’s practice and should take into account:


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Professional development needs (considering the six domains of general practice: communication, clinical expertise, professionalism, scholarship, context of general practice and management) – see the exemplar section of the PDP webpage for a detailed explanation of each domain. Personal ambitions and goals Previous goals and whether or not these were achieved The practice environment and practice plans.


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Reflections on the progress towards identified needs The impact of this learning The potential next steps.

PDPs as part of a cycle of reflection on professional development needs

Adapted from: Brigley S, Young Y, Littlejohns P, McEwan J. Continuing education for medical professionals: a reflective model, Postgrad Med J. 1997;73(855):23–26 RNZCGP CPD | PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN | SEPTEMBER 2018 | 1

Your PDP is part of a cycle of reflection of your professional development needs. Reflecting on your learning outcomes will inform adjustments to your plan or help you develop your next PDP.

Why is a PDP important to me as a GP? GPs operate in a personal, family and community-oriented primary care environment. This practice environment is constantly changing, requiring the development of new clinical knowledge, advanced skills and awareness of the latest trends in preventative health care to meet the needs of the practice population.

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A PDP provides an opportunity to identify opportunities for further learning that will be relevant specifically to you and your patients. Formulating your PDP ensures you are undertaking professional development activities that are relevant to your own clinical practice and individual learning needs. A specific PDP helps identify the resources you require to achieve your goals. Reflecting on your learning needs provides an opportunity to enhance your selfawareness about your personal competence, changes in your practice context, and your daily practice as a busy GP. A PDP helps you monitor your professional development and reflect on the impact your learning has on you, your patients, your practice context – and perhaps the profession as a whole.


The purpose of the PDP is to encourage doctors to plan their continuing professional development activities by reflecting on their own learning needs.

How do I write my PDP? Your plan should be kept for your own personal records. This is best done online through the College’s CPD dashboard. Good practice suggests that in each learning cycle, your PDP should include these areas:

1. The identified personal development needs


What are my learning needs?

2. Domains of general practice covered


Consider what domain(s) are relevant to this learning need.

3. Justification of the relevance/importance of this learning need to daily practice


Why does it need to be enhanced now?

4. Actions to achieve the goal

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What resources are needed to achieve the goal? What is the time frame?

5. The outcomes/status of the actions


To what extent have the actions been implemented?

6. Reflections

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How has my practice changed and how it will affect me and my patients? Is there any evidence to support this?

7. The next step of my professional development


What’s next?


Log in to the website for a PDP exemplar and template.

Steps to write and review your PDP in each learning cycle: 1. Identify your learning needs by reflecting on your personal experience or situation. When thinking about where to focus your learning, you might like to consider:

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issues arising from patient care previous learning and areas that you would like to follow up on outcomes of clinical audits patient feedback, complaints, or incident reports practice or primary health organisation plans.

2. Based on your learning needs, develop your individual learning goals and action plan. Questions to ask yourself:

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Are my learning goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound)? Are my actions appropriate and sufficient to achieve my goals?

3. Have your plan reviewed and signed off by a peer.* Why do my plans have to be reviewed?

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A peer review provides a valuable opportunity for GPs to discuss and refine their individual goals. Feedback from your peers will help to ensure your goals are reasonable and realistic. Importantly, plans that are shared are more likely to be acted on. A peer review also creates an opportunity for colleagues to look after themselves, as well as their professional development. The peer review process may provide additional guidance about possible areas for development.

4. After undertaking your learning activities, review/evaluate your plan. Questions to ask yourself:

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Have I achieved my goals? Has my learning enhanced my knowledge or practice skills? How do I know? What will I do next?

If you are invited to review a colleague’s PDP, see how to do this in Peer Review Activities.




The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners Level 4, 50 Customhouse Quay, Wellington PO Box 10440, Wellington, 6143 Telephone: +64 4 496 5999 Facsimile: +64 4 496 5997

Professional Development Plan  

A part of your Continuing Development Programme.

Professional Development Plan  

A part of your Continuing Development Programme.