life,  nutrition,  Professional Reflection

Professional Refection 2: Competencies

Profession Reflection 2: Getting My Poop in a Group Before My Dietetic Competency Renewal

As promised! Here are my thoughts on how I incorporate meaningful reflection into my practice to help with competencies renewal! If you read my Reflection Part 1 (Professional Reflection: My Journey), I mentioned I wanted to better support myself in regards to my competencies, and create a positive climate for learning, setting myself up for success and using competencies as an area for growth as opposed to a task I have to check off of my to-do list! Yes, it may feel like more work in comparison to randomly selecting a competency and than “BSing” when the time comes… BUT in the long run I find it much more beneficial for my overall practice, AND professional/ work satisfaction to shift how I approach competencies!

*For those that are not sure what competencies are, they are an activity that registered health professionals complete each year and submit to their colleges to ensure they are competent within their roles. Even if you do not have formal continuing competencies, these professional reflection ideas may still be relevant to you.

These are the steps and questions I trialed last year, and will be hoping to continue to fine tune over every upcoming year, that have helped me to transform competencies from a chore to a more enjoyable learning experience to further my professional development.

To start, have an OPEN MIND. I find it helpful, to not hold expectations but rather hold space and be open to new ideas, potentially new ways of looking at things and trusting the process of actively reflecting on your year.

Step 1: Reflect on our Practice

Before selecting the competency areas I want to focus on for my upcoming year, I find it helpful to take a moment and reflect on a few areas. I try not to “force it” but rather jot down what first come to find when actively asking myself each:

  1. What am I doing well? (see some prompting questions I use below, that you might use to guide your reflection in this area!)
    1. What was my greatest achievement this year?
    2. What was my happiest moment in practice this year? (For this one I worked through the entire Reflective Cycle.. if you are not sure what that is? Stay tuned… I will publish a post on this soon!)
    3. What steps did I take to help this last year a success?
  2. What are areas I feel I can grow? (see some prompting questions I use below, that you might use to guide your reflection in this area!)
    1. What was my biggest struggle this past year? (I also worked through Gibbs Reflective Cycle for this)
    2. Is there anything within my control that can make this next year easier?
    3. What skills did I use that helped me to keep going when things got tough? Are there any skills I did not use that I would like to continue to practice using or better use?
  3. What am I WANTING to do this year? (any courses, certifications etc)
    1. What sparks joy? (Marie Kondo style but cleaning and organizing goals rather then you home!)
  4. What are competency areas I am already working on?
    1. Are there projects or goals through work or competencies for other licensing, for example CDE competencies that I am already focusing on? It may feel like “doubling up” is cheating, or taking away from your learning, but rather I view it as better setting myself up for success as I can focus on a few key areas, between working, cleaning, cooking, gym, self care etc, nobody has time to focus on an endless # of goals and competencies!

Although competency goals can change throughout the year I find it is helpful for me to choose competencies at the start of the year, which makes it MUCH easier for me to prioritize my time. There will ALWAYS be endless amounts of course, articles and certifications and it can be SO overwhelming at times to filter through which ones to focus on (we cannot expect ourselves to do them all!). I find when I am aware of what my focus area is at the start of the year I can better manage my time and filter through what I will/ want to do, at least this year. When answering the above question(s) this year, I free wrote, while referencing the Alberta Dietitian competency guide when needed, in previous years I worked through the competency book and found the structure did not work as well for me however is a great tool to reference to.

Step 2: Selecting Competencies

  1. I personally choose 1 competency area that I feel I already do fairly well and want to further grow!
  2. I choose one competency that I feel is an area of weakness for myself and I want to further grow!

My competencies this year also both overlap with my CDE competencies AND my professional goals built through work!

Step 3: Reviewing my Competencies

After selecting my competencies I reflect on WHY I personally selected these competencies.

  1. Why is the competency selected important to me?
    1. How will it potentially impact my day to day practice?
  2. How do I do this?
    1. Do I feel I have set clear expectations for myself regarding why I selected this competency, why it is important to me and how I am planning to measure success?
    2. What courses, classes, webinars, articles or activities will best support MY personal learning this year?
      1. Will I be engaged and motivated by the identified tasks?
    3. How can I practice new skills in my practice?
    4. What questions can I ask myself along the way?
    5. Do I want or need to ask for support? If so, who?

Step 4: Action!

Throughout the year, when selecting learning activities I ask myself:

  1. Why am I choosing this learning activity (class, course, workshop etc.)

After the Workshop I:

  1. Jot down the activity and the date it was completed
  2. Take a moment to reflect on (I usually do it on the back of the printed certificate if it comes with one in “bullet form”, I keep them all in a binder and folder in clear plastic sleeves):
    1. What did I learn? How or Where can I incorporate it into practice (is now a good time to implement?)
    2. Did the course reinforce anything I am doing well?
    3. What impact may this have on my practice
    4. What pieces of this workshop tie into my competencies?

An example from last year, I jotted on the back of a webinar certificate:

Course: Translating and Implementing the Mediterranean Diet into Practice, Nov 24th 2018

Competencies: Nutrition care plans, Communication and Collaboration (Patient communication).

  • Wanted to take this course to Learn more about the Med diet.and my communication of information to various populations.
  • I felt this would benefit practice as Ill learn skills of translating info about Med diet to all populations and increase the effectiveness of sessions –> improved job satisfaction.
  • This course reinforced knowledge surrounding Med diet and how it may tie into a nutrition care plan.
  • I feel I learned additional strategies to relay information (Communication) to populations and help others identify food values and how pieces may fit into their day to day life and how it may impact their personal quality of life and fit into their care plans (Nutrition Care plans).
  • Change Practice:
    • trial a new Med Diet Screening tool in practice when clients are interested
    • Make adjustments to med diet presentation as highlighted throughout printed slides.

Step 5: Check in!

Part way through the year check in, try scheduling it into your calendar so the time does not come and go and you “skip it”.

At this time ask yourself:

  1. How are your competencies going this year?
  2. What are some “Ah ha” moments you have had?
  3. What is going well?
  4. Anything I could be doing better to support my learning?

Step 6: Final review!

At the end of the year, I take a look through my notes to find common “themes” and type up and submit my competencies based on these learning themes.

For example: See the below example “template”

  • What is the competency and why did I choose it?
  • What did I complete/ do?
  • What did I do well, how did these activities help me identify areas I can improve?
  • How or did I change my practice?
  • How did these changes impact outcomes?
  • Any areas I would like to continue to grow?

This year, I identified XXX (Competency 1: ex Nutrition care plans) as an area I wanted to focus on for personal growth because _________________ (why is this important to you, how does it impact practice OR why you selected it). I completed, read and reviewed XXXX (date), XXX (date) and XXX (date). These activities reinforced what I do well supporting clients to implement behavior change and also helped to (THEME 1) highlight new tools I can use in practice, such as the Med diet screening tool, XXXXX and XXXXX which contributed to the development of Nutrition Care Plans and the evaluation of Nutrition Care plans. I started using these in practice and see that it impacts _________________ (what are the pros). I would like to continue to grow these skills by ________.

Step 7: Start again!

Although the above has helped my with completing competencies, it does NOT mean it is going to work or that you have to do it this way. I do however, like to highlight that find a process that works well for you, that will support your learning and professional development and that you feel will best benefit you WILL be a lot more satisfying in comparison to just completing it as though it is a “chore”!

Last but not least! Please feel free to share what works or does not work for you! A welcome any and all feedback!

Happy Competencies 🙂

Welcome! I am a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes educator wanting to share my perspective on health with you!

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