Continuing professional development among social- and health-care educators

Minna Koskimäki, Marja-Leena Lähteenmäki, Kristina Mikkonen, Maria Kääriäinen, Camilla Koskinen, Hanne Mäki-Hakola, Tuulikki Sjögren, Meeri Koivula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Future social- and health-care educators will be required to have versatile competence in educating professionals that reflects both the constantly changing health-care environment and delivery of high-quality patient care. Continuing professional development can be defined as a process that aims to increase educators' competence and well-being, along with the effectiveness of an organisation. This study aimed to describe educators' continuing professional development and clarify the contribution of continuing education. The research applied a qualitative approach as only limited information about social- and health-care educators' professional development currently exists.’ Data were collected by group interviews of 35 experienced social- and health-care educators from six institutions of higher education and two vocational schools across Finland. An inductive content analysis yielded 39 subcategories, 11 categories and three main categories, namely, educators' approaches for developing professional competence, barriers to continuing education, and educators' continuing education needs. The educators reported that they maintain and develop their competence in versatile ways; for example, continuing professional development takes place through both formal continuing education and informal collaboration at daily work. Regarding barriers to continuing education, the educators most often cited the lack of planning and a lack of resources, for example, scheduling and financial factors. The continuing education needs of social- and health-care educators are highly individual and should not only reflect organisational goals. The fact that this study only included experienced educators can be considered a limitation, as a sample that also included novice educators may have yielded different perceptions of continuing education and professional development. The results of the research can be utilised when designing the continuing professional development of educators at the individual, group or organisational level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-677
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • continuing education
  • continuing professional development
  • educator
  • social and health-care education
  • vocational education

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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