Gaining Professional Competence for Patient Encounters by Means of a New Understanding
Sammanfattning: Swedish health care is currently facing problems, such as lack of financial resources, staff shortage and dissatisfaction among patients and professionals. Patients’ dissatisfaction was the point of departure for the present study, and one approach dealing with this problem was investigated. It was hypothesised that a patient-centred perspective could offer a possible solution. The aim of the study was to explore health care professionals’ and medical students’ understanding of their professional role and the patient encounter. A further goal was to determine whether these understandings could be developed by educational interventions. Students and professionals have been either interviewed or responded to a survey about their professional role and the patient encounter. Qualitative analysis was used. One group- and one individualised intervention were carried out. The participants’ understandings of their professional role were taken as the starting point for learning. The results showed that a minority of medical students and professionals in diabetes care had incorporated a patient-centred perspective. Nurses in telephone advisory services recognised the patients’ needs, but experienced conflicting demands of being both carer and gatekeeper. A non-optimal match between patients’ needs and what professionals understand as their role could cause some of the problems. Competence development could be achieved by taking the participants understanding of the professionals’ role and of the patient encounter as a starting point for reflection. The results have implications for changes in organisation and education in health care, to optimise outcomes of care. Time for reflection, mentoring and professional development is needed.
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