Personal Development in Care Settings


In this unit, you will explore your roles and responsibilities as a care worker, learn how to reflect on your practice, create your own Personal Development Plan, understand the importance of personal development and learn ways to increase your knowledge, skills and understanding.


Study Guide

1.1 Describe the duties and responsibilities of own role

In your role as a care worker, you will have certain duties and responsibilities.

Your duties are the tasks that you perform in your daily practice, which will involve caring for and supporting individuals with tasks that they unable to manage themselves and perhaps teaching them new skills to increase their independence.

Duties may include:

  • Ensuring individuals receive quality care in line with their wishes and preferences
  • Ensuring all paperwork is filled out correctly
  • Helping individuals learn new skills
  • Communicating clearly and efficiently with the individuals you support, co-workers, managers, outside agencies etc.
  • Reviewing and updating care plans
  • Taking individuals to activities

Your responsibilities are the things that you are accountable for in your day to day work. You will have responsibilities to yourself, your clients, your colleagues and managers, other professionals and society as a whole (see duty of care).

Some of your responsibilities may be:

  • Ensuring medication is administered and documented correctly
  • Informing your employer of potential risks to health, safety and wellbeing
  • Reporting unsafe practices or suspicions of abuse
  • Working in accordance with legislation, best practices and your employer’s agreed ways of working
  • Attending mandatory training
  • Respecting the privacy of the individuals that you work with

The best place to find your own duties and responsibilities at work will be in your job description. You will be able to obtain more detailed information during your induction and any mandatory training your employer provides for you. In addition, your employer’s agreed ways of working (policies and procedures) will also provide information about your duties and responsibilities. If you are not sure about something, always approach your manager for clarification.

1.2 Identify standards, regulatory requirements and agreed ways of working that may influence your knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out your work role

There are several standards, regulatory requirements and agreed ways of working that can influence your knowledge, understanding and skills at work.

Legislation such as:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Data Protection Act (+GDPR) 2018
  • etc…

are very important to be aware of and have a basic understanding of as they underpin what is required by law and contravening them could lead to prosecution.

This will be re-iterated withing your agreed ways of working that your employer provides within their policies, procedures and other documentation. They will tell you what you need to do in certain circumstances to comply with the law.

You can also keep up to date with standards whilst working on your personal development and attending training. The Care Certificate, Level 2 and 3 Diplomas and further education can increase your knowledge, skills and understanding.

1.3 Describe how to ensure that own personal values, attitudes or beliefs do not obstruct the quality of work and working practice

We all have our own personal views and beliefs and we are entitled to them. However, it is important to acknowledge and understand that the views and beliefs and others may differ from our own and that we need to respect these differences.

In our professional work, it is important that we do not allow our personal values attitudes and beliefs to interfere with our practice.

We do this by trying to remain objective (sticking to just plain facts) and not trying to force our own views onto the people we work with. This is part of maintaining professional boundaries.

Many people with learning disabilities can be easily influenced by those around them, so could be easily swayed by your personal views. Subjects such as religion and politics can be very sensitive to some people and if you have polar opposite views it could lead to embarrassment, awkwardness or upset to the individuals that you support. You may have strong views about something but this should not negatively affect the individual’s right to think differently.

Here are some examples of some personal values, attitudes or beliefs that could affect the quality of a care worker’s practice:

  • A vegetarian influencing a meat-eating individual to only eat vegetarian meals so they do not have to handle meat
  • A devout Catholic telling an individual they should not have sex until they are married
  • A left-wing carer telling an individual how they should vote in the next general election

In all these cases, the professional must put their own views aside when at work. The vegetarian should ensure the individual has free choice when choosing their menu, the Catholic should respect that the individual is legally allowed to have sexual intercourse without being married if they wish and the left-wing carer should not be telling the individual how to vote or influencing their decision.

2.1 Explain why reflecting on work activities is an important way to develop knowledge, skills and practice

Reflecting on work activities is an important skill to develop as a health and social care worker because it is a fantastic way to develop your own knowledge, skills and understanding.

Personal reflection involves taking a little time (5 or 10 minutes) to think about an experience you have had at work and to analyse what you think you did well and what you think you could have done better.

By using reflection, you can identify how you may manage a similar situation in the future better.

This is essentially ‘learning from experience‘ but without actively taking the step to reflect on what you have done, you are at risk of making the same mistakes again.

2.2 Assess how well own knowledge, skills and understanding meet standards

The best way to assess how well your own knowledge, skills and understanding meet standards is to ask others for feedback.

You could speak to your clients, their family members, co-workers, your tutor or other professionals in the industry that you have come into contact with. This is called 360 feedback.

But the best source of feedback will be your own line manager, who will be able to tell you what you are doing well and what you can improve as part of regular supervision.

2.3 Demonstrate the ability to reflect on work activities

Now that you understand how to reflect on work activities, you will have to demonstrate to your tutor that you have used this skill.

It could be that you collaborated with an individual to introduce a number of changes to their care plan that would give them more independence but this led to new destructive behaviours. Upon reflection, you may realise that although the changes were in their best interest, you made too many, too soon and it was overwhelming for them. In future, you may consider a more staggered approach where you introduce one change at a time over a longer period.

Or it could be that due to a spate of burglaries in the area you agree with the individual you support to keep the door locked during the daytime. But then there is a fire drill and you are unable to evacuate quickly because you are scrambling around looking for the keys. When you reflect on this, you decide that it was a good idea to have the door locked (for safety reasons) but you need to ensure that staff always have a key available so purchase a lanyard so the keys can be kept on their person.

3.1 Identify sources of support and how they can be used for own learning and development

There are lots of sources of support that you can use for your own personal development.

Your manager is perhaps your best source as they as they will be able to guide you as you advance in your career. Regular supervision is essential to this along with observations and ad-hoc professional discussions to ensure you are working to best practices.

You can also get advice from a specialised training manager if your organisation has one, your co-workers, your tutor and other professionals.

Resources that you are provided with as part of any qualifications you are working towards can be very useful as well as any training programs or courses you attend. You can also do your own research using the Internet or your local library.

3.2 Describe the process for agreeing a personal development plan and who should be involved

Agreeing a personal development plan (PDP) is a task that should be completed by yourself and your manager.

You will need to collaborate and agree on what you need to work on and decide on targets to work towards.

The targets/goals you choose should be in line with your job role – for example it is no use doing training on epilepsy if none of the individuals you support have epilepsy!

Your targets should be specific and have an agreed date to be completed.

You should refer back to your PDP regularly throughout the year to ensure you are on track and organise meetings with your manager to discuss your progress and seek support for any hurdles you encounter. You may review your PDP as part of your regular supervision.

3.3 Contribute and agree to own personal development plan

You will need to show your tutor that you have created a PDP with your manager and agreed on targets for your personal development. You can demonstrate this by showing them a copy of your PDP.

It may look like this:

GoalDue date
1. Complete Level 2 Diploma in Care15/02/2020
2. Reflect on a work activity once per week for three months and record thoughts in journal15/05/2019
3. Learn how to do drug stock check22/02/2019

4.1 Describe how a learning activity has improved own knowledge, skills and understanding

You will complete many learning activities as a health and social care worker and should be able to recognise how they have improved your knowledge, skills and understanding.

Learning activities can include formal training, inductions into services, discussions with managers and working towards qualifications as well as your own research.

For example, you may have had a first aid refresher and learned that the Heimlich Maneuver is no longer a recommended technique to prevent choking and has been replaced with abdominal thrusts.

Or, whilst being inducted at a new service, you learned how to assist an individual to shave.

4.2 Describe how reflecting on a situation has improved own knowledge, skills and understanding

There are a couple of examples above (section 2.3) about how reflecting on a situation has improved your knowledge skills and understanding.

4.3 Explain the importance of continuing professional development

Continuing professional development is essential in the health and care industry because legislation and best practices are constantly subject to change.

Therefore, it is essential to stay up to date.

4.4 Describe how feedback from others has developed own knowledge, skills and understanding

Feedback can come from many sources and you should use it to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding.

For example, your manager may have advised that you do not need to do the washing up for a client because they are more than capable of doing it themselves and all you need do is check that the crockery is clean. This gives you a better understanding of the individual’s needs (and that they may have been taking you for a ride).

Or the father of an individual you support may have provided you with key information on how best to communicate with them.

4.5 Demonstrate how to record progress in relation to personal development

Recording progress in your PDP is covered in section 3.2.