Personal Development Plan Essay


One of the most important elements in leadership is continuous personal development. This is achieved through engaging in professional development and from feedback and experience (Zuzelo, 2010 p. 3). Through this, this paper will discuss the development of problem-solving skills. Driscoll’s model of reflection will be used in this case. This is because Driscoll’s model allows for asking of the “what” question (what happened in the situation). This is then moved on to the so what (what was the feeling, was it a good or a bad one) and now what (if the situation ever occurs again, what can you do differently?). These questions are very important in analyzing different situations that nurses may experience in practice. Through these questions, an action plan for the future can be developed. The introduction part will introduce Driscoll’s model and its relevance with the personal development plan.


The main body of the paper will apply Driscoll’s model (Driscoll, 2007), answering the questions of Driscoll’s model to the personal development plan.

Application of the reflective model

Work placement is one of the ways in which nurses can gain an insight into the field of nursing. The placement during the 3rd year of study helped me gain substantial knowledge, experience and confidence of dealing with patients (Driscoll, 2007). The placements are mostly structured to ensure that the nurses gain knowledge from other nurses within the departments they are operating in (Jasper, 2003). This is where nurses can be assigned to mentors who can take them through procedures and processes in the departments. There different departments available for placement include cardiac, emergency, critical care, medicine, surgery, renal, older-adult care and theatres among other departments (Taylor, 2005). Some of these departments are critical care departments because patients in these departments are in critical care condition and would require urgent care and attention (Barth & Brühl, 2005).

Reflection is a process of looking back at one’s actions and experiences. According to Lynch et al, (2009, p. 111), “reflective practice is better than thoughtful practice because reflective practice tends to model a situation in a manner that a practitioner can derive many learning points from the problem.” This will help the practitioner to learn, grow and develop in his or her professional practice (Johns & Freshwater, 2009). However, there is a danger that has been highlighted by some people that personal reflection may focus on negatives of a situation. To avoid this, practitioners should do a thorough and objective analysis of situations they are exposed to (Bulman & Schutz, 2013).

While in my placement, a male patient was admitted in one of the wards. This patient was a victim of a fall, and he, therefore, had many cuts and bruises on his body. Throughout the time that he was in the ward, he was a little bit confused, and he liked to walk around the ward unsupervised. According to Liz, Jill & Rachel (2010), this is a very big concern for nurses and other healthcare professionals within the hospital setting. This is because the patient can interfere with machines, and this could have an adverse effect on the lives of other patients (Mooi, 2010). We had been warned that the patient was not steady on his feet and should, therefore, not wander across the ward without supervision. This is reinforced by the work done by Zuzelo (2010) which asserts that greater disability may result from the loss of confidence and anxiety that occurs after an accident like a fall. When I tried to talk to the patient, he showed some aggression tendencies towards me.

The reason I have reflected on this incident is because of the aggression tendencies that the patient exhibited towards me. These tendencies negatively affected my communication with the patient, and this also had an impact on my professional skills. A reflection of this incidence, therefore, helped me develop my knowledge in patient communication (Howatson-Jones, 2010).

Communication is a process of sharing facts, ideas and information between two or more people (Stein, 2011). Communication happens through verbal and non-verbal means and is a two way process where both the sender and receiver of the message being communicated must properly understand the content of the message (Taylor, 2005).

In the case of this patient, I would propose that a proper communication mechanism be designed so that the patient can understand the dangers of walking alone in the ward unsupervised. This is because according to Mitchell & Haroun (2011), he is risking his life and the life of other patients within the ward. There are different studies that have showed that both verbal and non-verbal communication can be used appropriately to help nurses and patients’ families have a positive communication experience with the patient (Liz, Jill & Rachel, 2010). Through this situation and from my reflection, I have discovered that nurses and other healthcare professionals should create a good environment, listen carefully to the desires of patients, observe the body language of patients and use body language to convey warmth and understanding to the patient. Nurses should speak slowly and in a language that is easily understandable to the patient. In this case, I realised that there are some instances that patients may speak in indirect ways so that they express themselves (Bulman & Schutz, 2013). I discovered the need to be creative in problem-solving. The creativity will help me understand the diverse needs of patients that I interact with in my practice.

This experience has highlighted the importance of healthcare professionals working together to help give holistic care to patients. The insights I gained from this experience will help me in my future practice. Specifically, I have learnt to be more creative in communicating with patients. In future, I will be mindful of the different challenges that patients face and through this, I have increased my knowledge in professional practice.

As a nurse, I have discovered that my role would be to ensure that decisions are made on behalf of the patients. However, this should be done after consultation with the patient so that he does not feel sidelined in the process. This is based on the fact that communication advocacy is a moral obligation that nurses have (O’Carroll, Robert & Park, 2007). The advocacy should be effectively done to create a positive difference in the lives of patients. The experience has highlighted to me some difficulties that other nurses may also face in their practice. For example, there are nurses who have also experienced aggression and have been beaten by patients in some cases (Peate, 2012).

The objective of reviewing this situation is to reflect on my experiences on this situation and help make sense of this situation. Through this, I can reflect on my decisions and determine whether I made the best decision depending on the situation that I was exposed in on reflection.


Conclusion will summarize the paper and the findings on personal development plan using Driscoll’s model (Driscoll, 2007). Reflection is a process of looking back at one’s actions and experiences. Reflective practice is better than thoughtful practice because reflective practice tends to model a situation in a manner that a practitioner can derive many learning points from the problem (Peate, 2006). There are different forms of reflection that can be analysed using different models. Placement in nursing practice is very important to help nurses gain insights and knowledge about the practice. This helps in improving their confidence and experience while dealing with patients. The reflection experience has been based on a placement that I had while in my 3rd year of study.

Reflective practice has a direct impact on the quality of care that a nursing or other healthcare professional offers to patients. Nurses should have structured reflection moments from which they can learn from their experiences. This can play an important role in their personal and professional development (Mooi, 2010). This is based on the fact that reflective practice helps nurses make sense of some complex situations that they experience. The case study highlighted above shows a very complex situation that I experienced during my placement. On reflection, I realised that the experience made me learn a lot of things that has helped me in my personal and professional development (Peate, 2006). Through the situation, I realised that there were some things in nursing that I had not known. The reflection therefore helped me identify my educational needs. A step towards better healthcare delivery can be achieved through continuous communication between nurses and patients. Nurses should provide support to patients to enable patients express themselves freely. These communication skills can be learnt better through personal reflection.


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