Professional Development Plan Guidance
Professional Development Plan
Purpose of the Professional Development Plan
Students conceptualize a personalized blueprint for approaching their Walden
studies and present it in a written Professional Development Plan (PDP). Writing
the essay allows students the opportunity to
• reflect on their personal history, professional accomplishments, and future
• initiate a discussion with instructor about graduate study in general and the
Walden program in particular; and
• articulate academic interests and set goals for their Walden educational
Content and Structure of the Professional Development Plan
Although a general outline is provided for the content and structure of the PDP
(see Week 1 Application Rubric), students are encouraged to write an essay that
reflects their individual experience, achievements, and goals. Students write the
essay in the first person and include their thoughts on how the plan relates to
their chosen field of study.
Personal and Professional Goals
In this section, students write a brief personal introduction, state their personal
and professional goals, and articulate how these goals intersect with their
academic interests and selected field of study. Students reflect upon the mission
and vision of the university. Students discuss how specialized learning and the
attainment of a graduate degree will help them meet career and personal life
Educational Background and Research Proficiency
When developing this section, students reflect on the formal and informal
learning experiences that compose their educational background and discuss
how these experiences support the direction of study established in Part I.
Walden encourages students to include individual knowledge, skills, and
accomplishments. Students explain the academic and research proficiencies
they bring to the program and identify areas to improve while a Walden
student. Students are expected to evaluate honestly their readiness to pursue
graduate education.
Categories for students to consider when writing this section include the
following (note that not everyone will have all of these experiences, and that is
okay; the purpose of this exercise is to focus your reflection on what
experiences you do bring to your graduate education and how your education
will facilitate your development as a nursing professional):
• Academic coursework in nursing and related sciences.
• Academic coursework in other fields.
• Professional presentations, seminars, and workshops.
• Volunteer activities.
• Prior experience designing and executing research (if any).
• Publications and other writing experiences.
• Teaching assignments.
• Professional training.
• Academic strengths and weaknesses.
• Research strengths and weaknesses.
• Availability of library, reference, and information technology resources.
Professional Goals, Learning Goals, Practicum
In these three sections relate your professional and educational background to
your future goals as you complete your graduate degree.