Early psychosis workforce development: Core competencies for mental health professionals working in the early psychosis field

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to identify the core competencies required of mental health professionals working in the early psychosis field, which could function as an evidence-based tool to support the early psychosis workforce and in turn assist early psychosis service implementation and strengthen early psychosis model fidelity.

Method

The Delphi method was used to establish expert consensus on the core competencies. In the first stage, a systematic literature search was conducted to generate competency items. In the second stage, a panel consisting of expert early psychosis clinicians from around the world was formed. Panel members then rated each of the competency items on how essential they are to the clinical practice of all early psychosis clinicians.

Results

In total, 1023 pieces of literature including textbooks, journal articles and grey literature were reviewed. A final 542 competency items were identified for inclusion in the questionnaire. A total of 63 early psychosis experts participated in 3 rating rounds. Of the 542 competency items, 242 were endorsed as the required core competencies. There were 29 competency items that were endorsed by 62 or more experts, and these may be considered the foundational competencies for early psychosis practice.

Conclusion

The study generated a set of core competencies that provide a common language for early psychosis clinicians across professional disciplines and country of practice, and potentially are a useful professional resource to support early psychosis workforce development and service reform.

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