Continuing professional development: researching non-technical competencies can support cognitive reappraisal and reduced stress in clinicians

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Abstract

Generic professional capabilities (non-technical competencies) are increasingly valued for their links to patient outcomes and clinician well-being. This study explores the emotional change, and practice-related outcomes, of participants of a veterinary professional key skills (PKS) continuing professional development (CPD) module. Reflective summaries produced by participants were analysed. A change in emotion, from ‘negative’ to ‘positive’, was the focus of analysis. Sections regarding these emotions were thematically analysed. Analysis was performed on 46 summaries. Three themes were identified: ‘the PKS module’ (centred on reluctance becoming surprise and stimulation), ‘developing non-technical competencies’ (unease to confidence) and ‘stress and coping through a reflective focus’ (anxiety to harmony). The changing emotions were connected to positive cognitive reappraisal and often behaviour changes, benefitting self, practice, clients and patients. The PKS module teaches participants to reflect; a new and challenging concept. The consequences of this enabled participants to understand the importance of professional topics, to be appreciative as well as critical, and to enjoy their job. Importantly, the module stimulated coping responses. Better understanding of roles led to participants having more reasonable expectations of themselves, more appreciation of their work and reduced stress. This research supports more attention to professional skills CPD for health professions.

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