You should base your appraisal on developing and/or reviewing your personal development programme. Feel free to come up with ideas alone but be sure to discuss them with seniors, colleagues and your appraiser. If you are in training you can use the applicable curriculum to help you to realise where you are with what you have achieved and have yet to achieve.

Try and be specific about your learning/development aims. Explicitly state how you will achieve your goals.

Tailor your PDP closely to your current situation. Use it to get the best out of your experience.

Think about your long-term goals. You can often put a spin on your current learning/development needs that reflects your long-term wishes.

Create a PDP at least once a year. If you are in training, complete at least one for every post you are in. Make sure that you review and revise your PDP at least during every appraisal you have but preferably more regularly than this. 

Career development documents

Include details of any discussions you have about your career, resources you have completed and results of any online career resources e.g. Sci-59. For every resource you undertake through this website you will be prompted to note down your workings, reflection, decisions and action plans and enter it into your portfolio.

Evidence of continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD)

Follow the link to continuing medical education and continuing professional development

Learning activities

Online learning modules often provide certificates once they have been completed. Print and/or list these to provide some evidence of learning activities.

Teaching you have received

Document compulsory teaching sessions, extracurricular lectures and or seminars that you have attended.

Teaching you have provided

Document who you taught, what it involved and some reflection on the session – what went well, how it could be improved next time

Courses and conferences attended

Document details of the content, date and venue of the course and conferences. Usually certificates are available however you sometimes have to sign a list to request these. Make sure you look out for certificate request sheets to ensure you have evidence of your attendance. Certificates often document the number of CPD points with which the event has provided you.

Logbook of skills and procedures performed

You should keep a record of the procedures you have performed. The requirements differ depending on your training scheme. Logbooks are gradually becoming electronic too but, with everything, it is a good idea to keep a hard copy too.

Faculty of Health Informatics eLogbook the Pan-Surgical Logbook  – developed to support surgeons of all grades and all Specialties in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Presentations you have given

Include details of the title and date of and venue and event at which you presented. If you have used computer slide-show software to create your presentation then print your slides and insert these in your portfolio.

Posters you have presented

Document the title, date, co-authors and event details of your poster presentation(s).

Publications (abstracts, papers, books)

Document the authors, title, date and location of your publication(s).


Chambers R, Wakley, Nineham G, Moxon G, Topham M. How to succeed in writing a book. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing; 2006.

Natarajan A. What, where and how to publish. BMJ Careers. 2007; 334: 161-2.