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Mind over matter

Changes to the GOC’s CET cycle requires registrants to set a personal development plan and learning goals on their MyGOC, but what are we being asked to do?

04 Apr 2016 by Ian Beasley

Adapting to change is not one of my strong points and I must confess that I'm most content when stationed firmly within my comfort zone. I guess this is because it's, well, comfortable. And I simply loathe the trite use of management speak in this regard – no, I don't want to 'push the envelope,' thanks all the same.

Ian BeasleyThis character flaw has become more entrenched with my advancing years and probably accounts for my refusal to leave the practice where I have worked as both man and boy. There is certainly an advantage to working in one place for so many years; I know which pieces of equipment might need a gentle kick if they fail to boot up on the first time of asking, and, more importantly, I recognise the idiosyncrasies of our more volatile optical assistants. No one wants to cross Maureen when her ‘sugars are dropping.’ Get that woman a cookie.

With familiarity being my closest ally, you can imagine my distress when logging onto the MyCET section of the General Optical Council’s (GOC) website recently to accept my first CET points in the new cycle. Being greeted by the shock that, before I could proceed any further, I would need to complete a ‘scope of practice’ statement and produce 'learning goals' was sufficient enough to make me weep and I’m convinced a small piece of me died inside. Of course, true to form, I decided to tackle the problem head-on by immediately closing the browser in the hope that upon my return I would be permitted access to areas of the site in their pre-2016 guise. Alas, it seems that the creation of a personal development plan (PDP) and learning goals is now a mandatory requirement which aims to ‘allow registrants to reflect on their scope of practice, identify learning goals and further their professional development.’

"I gave a great deal of thought as to how I should craft my learning goals without giving my regulatory body the impression that I had alarming deficiencies within my core skill set"

To give credit where it's due, the GOC has produced a rather useful, short instructional video, which I stumbled upon by clicking on the ‘Find out more’ tab within the MyCET section of the website. I tackled the scope of practice statement first, which simply requires practitioners to specify the type of registrant they are and the settings within which they work. And that was the first part done. Painless.

The second task required me to download and read the new Standards of Practice document, upon which I was pleased to discover that the GOC had generously created a learning goal to allow this to be completed without the need for tears or tantrums.

Registrants are required to make a declaration that they have undertaken this task with the option to complete a reflective statement and upload any evidence related to the task, for example, a copy of the Standards of Practice document for future reference.

Learning goals

With successful navigation through the first two tasks, I was relieved to be steered to more familiar surroundings within MyCET and was able to accept my freshly accrued points.

However, lying in wait was a final hurdle to test my resolve, something that I’m sure I’m not alone in having initially been hesitant of. An additional requirement for the new cycle is the need for points to be assigned to an existing or new learning goal, and the GOC advises that these can be very specific or broad in nature. At this juncture, I gave a great deal of thought as to how I should craft my learning goals without giving my regulatory body the impression that I had alarming deficiencies within my core skill set. I opted for a liberal use of phrases such as ‘consolidate my understanding of…,’ ‘reinforce my ability in…,’ ‘unify my capacities around…,’ ‘cement my skills in…’ and ‘explore the topics of…’

And I’m relieved to report that in a little over 10 minutes the task was complete without so much as a hissy fit, not even for a self-confessed drama queen like me.

Dr Ian Beasley is the AOP’s head of education and OT’s clinical editor.


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