Episode Description: Every year, all OTs registered in Ontario have to complete their PD (Professional Development) Plan, but why? In our first show, we're tackling common questions about the PD Plan, and offering you tips on setting goals and more. We're joined by Sonia Mistry, a Practice Advisor at the College.

Questions? Comments? Email us at communications@coto.org

 


Podcast Transcript

David: Hello everyone and welcome to COTO On Topic, where no question is off-topic. I’m your host David Pham.

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In today’s podcast, I am joined with College Practice Advisor Sonia Mistry. Sonia, welcome to the show. 

Sonia: Hi David, thanks for having me on the show today.

David: The topic for today’s episode is the Professional Development Plan or PD plan for short. You add goals to it, you can find it in MyQA and it’s due every year on May 31st, but do you really know the reason why you have to complete one every year? 

Together Sonia and I will look at the purpose behind completing your PD Plan, we’ll offer tips on setting goals, and more. Our aim for this podcast is to provide you with the tools and information to complete your PD plan with confidence. 

So, if you are ready to dive in, let’s go!

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David: Sonia, please tell us a little bit about the PD plan.

Sonia: Sure, David. The PD plan is one of three mandatory Quality Assurance program requirements for every College member. The other mandatory requirements are the Self-Assessment and the Prescribed Regulatory Education Program, which is also known as the PREP. These QA program requirements help OTs ensure they meet professional standards.

David: Are there any other benefits to completing a PD plan?

Sonia:
The PD plan provides an opportunity to reflect on your professional practice. You can identify learning needs and opportunities for professional growth. 

David: Interesting! When can members start working on their PD plan?

Sonia: Every year beginning in June, a new PD plan is made available in your MyQA page within the members only section of the College website. 

That means in June, you can start identifying goals, provide the reasons behind those goals, and create an action plan to reach those objectives in your PD plan. You have until May 31st of the following year to meet those goals and mark your PD plan as complete. 

For example, if you started your PD plan on June 1st, 2017, your goals and PD plan would be due on May 31st, 2018.

David: Is there a minimum or maximum number of goals you can have in your PD plan?

Sonia: The minimum number of goals you can set for yourself is two [2], while the maximum is five [5]. 

Please note that ongoing goals from past PD plans will need to be manually entered into your current PD plan. If you have identified goals from your Self-Assessment or SA, these goals will automatically appear in your PD plan for selection.

David: Can you talk a little more about the goals themselves?

Sonia: Sure! To help reach your PD plan objectives, the College recommends that you set SMART goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Limited.

An example of a SMART goal could be to identify a mentor who practises cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT techniques and meet with them monthly for the next six months to increase your knowledge about the application of CBT techniques into OT practice.

Or, say that you work in a hospital and you want to improve your interactions with your patients. An example of a SMART goal in this scenario could be to complete a communications course for health professionals by a specified date, and then share the knowledge you’ve gained by delivering a “lunch and learn” presentation for your peers.

We also suggest breaking down long-term goals into a series of smaller goals that can be accomplished within the year. More information on SMART goals can be found within your PD plan instructions on MyQA or on the Finding Your Way in MyQA resource page on our website.

As you work towards completing your goals, remember to revisit your PD plan periodically throughout the year to track your development, include evidence of progress, report on what you have learned, and to make any necessary changes.

David: Thank you for that clear explanation. So, what happens if you cannot meet your goals?

Sonia: While the College encourages you to achieve your goals within the year, some goals may become less relevant to your practice or they may require updating, or changing altogether, while other goals may require more than a year to accomplish. 

Here are some steps that you need to take in order to mark your PD plan as complete in MyQA. First, you want to make sure all of your fields are filled out within that goal. Then you can select “met” or “ongoing” from the drop-down menu. 

If all the fields are not completed, your goals will have a status of “in progress” and you will not be able to mark your PD plan as complete.

The deadline to mark your PD plan as complete is May 31st

David: I’m a keener myself, I like to finish things ahead of time. What happens if you meet your goals before the May 31st deadline?

Sonia: If you complete your goals before the deadline, we recommend waiting to mark your PD plan as complete because you may want to add further information or adjust those goals as the year progresses. Once you mark your PD plan complete, you cannot make any changes to your plan. If you have marked your PD plan as complete in error, please contact the Quality Assurance team at qaprograms@coto.org to have it re-opened.

David: One last question. I was browsing the MyQA site before today’s podcast and I noticed that read-only summaries of the PD plan were available. Can you please provide more details on the read only summaries?

Sonia: Sure, the read-only summaries of your PD plan are available in MyQA for your 2017 PD plan and moving forward. Read-only summaries are not available for any plans before 2017. To access these read-only summaries, you click on the history links on your MyQA page.  

David: Thank you for joining us today, Sonia. It was really great having you here. I know I learned a lot and I’m sure our audience did as well. 

And to our listeners at home thank you for tuning in. We hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. If you have questions or feedback, please give us a call at 1.800.890.6570 or email us at info@coto.org. You can also connect with us on social media, our Twitter handle is @CollegeofOTs. For more information please visit the College website at coto.org.

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