Importance of workplace knowledge and graduate resilience
Background: Universities strive to improve healthcare by educating future healthcare professionals. This strategy assumes graduates will be able to effectively implement new practices and act as change agents within their professions. However, graduates are likely to encounter numerous barriers to change.
Aim: To identify graduate attributes and educational opportunities that may increase Australian healthcare professionals’ capacity to be change agents.
Method: Iterative thematic qualitative analysis of interviews with 64 healthcare professionals and educators.
Results: Healthcare graduates face numerous barriers to implementing change within their professional contexts. Interviewees reasoned that by explicitly discussing coping strategies and common barriers to change, graduates will be better prepared to implement novel practices and aspects of professionalism. Curricula could include mindfulness, reflective practice, self-management, professional burn-out, workplace cultures, organisational structures, dominant professional paradigms and common professional practice. The importance of such curricula is discussed in the context of healthcare education for natural and social sustainability.
Conclusions: A fundamental goal of tertiary healthcare degrees is to improve future professional practice through the education of students. Designing curricula to enhance students’ capacity to act as change agents would assist this endeavour. Informed by their professional experiences, interviewees asserted that resilience and workplace knowledge are key graduate attributes that will enhance graduates’ capacity to implement change within the healthcare sector.
Keywords: allied health, nursing education, organisational change, organisational culture, organisational structure, professional burnout, professional education, professional power, psychological resilience.
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