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Do personal education plans help in CPD?
Medical Teacher Volume 24, Number 1/January 1, 2002
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To judge the effectiveness of personal education plans in continuing professional development, an evaluation was conducted by Alison Evans, Department for NHS Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (Yorkshire); Shahid Ali, Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds; Carol Singleton, Newstead House, Wakefield; and Philip Nolan and Jamie Bahrami, Postgraduate General Practice Education (Yorkshire).

The aim of their study was to evaluate the use of personal education plans (PEPs) as a method of continuing professional development (CPD), by means of a questionnaire, analysis of completed PEP reports, and in-depth interviews. The setting was the Yorkshire Deanery, and the participants were general practitioners (GPs) who had completed a PEP. The main outcome measures were reported identification of learning needs, educational methods used, and support received.

GPs' views were received on their experiences of undertaking PEPs, personal and professional development, and changes in patient care that resulted from their PEPs. Personal impression was the most frequently used method of deciding on learning needs. A variety of educational methods were used, the most frequent being personal reading, practical sessions, and taught courses.

The majority of respondents felt that they were well supported by their GP tutors, and that the PEP had helped them to enhance their personal knowledge and skills, as well as to improve service to patients. There were gains in terms of increased confidence and self-awareness. Most were keen to use PEPs in future, and hoped to involve other members of the practice. Our results suggest that PEPs are an effective method of CPD in that they frequently lead to reported changes in patient care, and personal and professional development of the learner.