CardiffUP’s new monograph – Educators of Healthcare Professionals: Agreeing a Shared Purpose

This post is written by guest blogger Julie Browne, the lead author of the monograph.

Good teamwork is essential to good patient care and, as the COVID-19 crisis has shown, healthcare teams must be able to work together effectively, regardless of who’s on the team, the nature of the healthcare need or the setting.  A major effort is underway across higher education and the NHS to help healthcare staff learn interprofessional teamworking skills, but much more is needed. 

The authors of CardiffUP’s latest monograph turn the spotlight on the hidden players in all this – the educators themselves.  These teachers are found at all levels of the healthcare service, in all professions and specialities including academic and management settings, in clinical skills centres and GP surgeries.  How well are they trained and prepared to work with teachers from other specialities to facilitate the learning of multiprofessional groups of students, trainees and professionals? Disappointingly, the short answer is “hardly at all”.

Healthcare educators usually learn to teach people from their own profession. Their first teaching job is to mentor and supervise students and trainees from their own profession. They are appraised and rewarded only for their skills in teaching their own profession, and there is very little cross-over. They may not know much about how education works in other professions, and be unprepared for working in educational teams. So what does a radiography teacher have in common with a GP tutor or a nurse preceptor? Or a midwife trainer with a physiotherapy educator?

The authors of this book – themselves a multi-professional team – addressed this question by looking at the standards and guidance that 42 different professional groups set for the development and training of their educators to see what, if anything, they have in common. The short answer this time was “a great deal” – they share a wide range of generic skills and attitudes.  Nine central shared values and 24 activities were identified, after a research process involving hundreds of participants from over 20 healthcare professions. While each profession develops its students, trainees and practitioners in its own way, this book demonstrates conclusively that the fundamental work of the healthcare educator is broadly similar, regardless of clinical speciality or profession. This new insight provides solid academic and theoretical underpinning for multi-professional and interprofessional practice in healthcare education, and offers a new shared perspective on the future for healthcare education and healthcare educators.

Link to read and download the book free of charge

This book will be of interest to all senior educators, education commissioners and managers, other educators looking to improve their educational practice or further develop their careers and a wide range of students interested in educational practice and practices. The content is not only applicable to the United Kingdom but will be of value to many of those involved in the development of quality-based interprofessional education models around the world.

Malcolm Smith
Postgraduate Dental Dean
Health Education England North East

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