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Professional development plan

Your professional development plan is a confidential document you create that guides and records the activities you undertake to meet the BCCNP Standards of Practice for your nursing designation, as well as your employer’s expectations.

Creating a professional development plan is one way nurses indicate to the public that they are maintaining their competence to practise and take their professional development obligation seriously. This commitment is an important part of being self-regulated.

Quality Assurance portfolio

We heard from nurses that they wanted a place to plan and document their continuous professional development. For those who are participating in the multisource feedback cycle, you'll be using the "Action Plan" section of My Professional Plan.

For those who are not yet in the multisource feedback cycle, we’ve put together a dynamic Quality Assurance portfolio. It allows you to track your activities over the year, and evaluate your progress as you go.

This document is for your use—there is no requirement to submit to BCCNP. You’re welcome to share your thoughts and ideas in the Portfolio with your manager or colleagues as part of your professional development, or simply use it for your own reference. Be sure to save the PDF to your computer before you begin.

Getting started

The foundation of a professional development plan is self-assessment and peer feedback: this is how you will identify the areas you want to focus on. A great place to start your self assessment is by completing the BCCNP self-assessment questionnaire.

Registered nurses holding a certified practice designation need to include at least one professional development activity related to their certification in their professional development plan.

Creating your professional development plan
Reflect on your self-assessment and peer feedback, ask yourself:
  • What do I need to learn?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What goals do I have for my professional development?

Then using SMART goals, plan:

  • How will I achieve my learning needs and goals?
  • What is the best way to document my plan?
  • How will I measure my success?

Regularly evaluate your progress and ask yourself:

  • Am I reviewing my plan regularly to check my progress?
  • Do I need to change my goals?
  • Is there something I need to add?
Setting SMART goals

Make your goals:

  • Specific what will you do?
  • Measurable How will you know you have succeeded?
  • AttainableCan I achieve this?
  • Realistic Is this appropriate for my practice or career stage?
  • Time bound When will I achieve this by?
Examples of professional development activities
  • Review and discuss case studies
  • Attend conferences, workshops or in-service education
  • Take an online course or attend a course in person
  • Self-directed research from journals or electronic resources   
  • Organize meeting to address issues in your workplace
Sample professional development plan

*Example only*

Based on my self-assessment and peer feedback, document my learning needs and goals.

Learning Needs & Goals (example)

What is the most effective way to relieve acute pain in pediatric patients i.e. burns or trauma?

Which BCCNP Professional Standard(s) does this relate to?

  • Knowledge-based practice (Standard 2)
  • Client centred provision of service (Standard 3)

Now set some SMART goals

  • S: Locate and critically review two recent journal articles on pediatric acute pain management
  • M: Improved understanding of pain management principles, changes to personal practice, and act as a resource for colleagues. Possibly give an in-service education session.
  • A: Goal is within reach
  • R: May not be attainable to change the practices of an entire unit / ward
  • T: Locate and review articles by August 2013


  • Located and reviewed articles by August, 2013
  • Gave a small in-service to four colleagues
  • Use the principles I learned to advocate for analgesia when patients are in acute pain

Download sample professional development plan template #1

Download sample professional development plan template #2

BCCNP resources

Tip: BCCNP offers convenient ways to learn! Our web learning modules cover a wide range of topics, and can form a part of your professional development. 

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