Assignment: Self-directed Individuals Experience

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Assignment: Self-directed Individuals Experience

Assignment: Self-directed Individuals Experience

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

548 British Journal of Community Nursing Vol 15, No 11

The portfolio therefore has scope for being much more then just a historical record of development. It can also be used as a vehicle for engaging in self-assessment and personal development planning. Evidence used within the portfolio can be used to undertake a personal review of where a prac- titioner currently is in terms of their development and con- sider where they want to be. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis can be a simple but useful tool to analyse professional strengths (skills, knowledge and ability) and weaknesses (areas for development.) These can then be considered in the context of the opportunities for development and the potential threats or barriers to develop- ment. An action plan can then be developed ensuring that these are addressed. Box 2 provides an example of this. In this way, the portfolio can becomes a dynamic tool that enables and records professional growth.

Adult learning Knowles et al (1984) identified that adult learners share certain characteristics: w Self-concept: They have developed from being depend-

ent on others towards becoming self-directed individuals w Experience: They have accumulated a range of experi-

ences that provide an increasing resource for learning w Readiness to learn: Their readiness to learn within their

social roles is apparent w Motivation to learn: As a person matures the motivation

to learn is internal (Knowles, 1984 p.12). These criteria are obviously desirable characteristics for

community nurses who are taking on increasingly autono- mous and complex roles in response to the demands of political and societal changes. Portfolios would therefore seem to be a very appropriate vehicle for both enabling and demonstrating these characteristics. Indeed, for this reason portfolios are widely utilized on university courses as part of the assessment process in both pre- and post-registration health-care programme.

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