Social and Healthcare Educators' Continuing Professional Development: A Comprehensive model

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Today´s social and healthcare professionals work in a constantly changing environment. The ageing population, society´s rapid technological development and the cultural diversity among today’s social and healthcare clients´ more complex problems are challenging professionals´ competence in various ways. Social and healthcare organizations thus require highly professional workforces. The competence and continuous learning of today’s social and healthcare educators have important effects on the education of future professionals.

The aim of this research was to develop a comprehensive model of continuing professional development among social and healthcare educators in three phases. The first phase’s aim was to describe the social and healthcare educators´ continuing professional development; the second phase’s aim was to develop and validate the EduProDe- scale to evaluate educators´ continuing professional development; and the third phase was to develop an empirical model of continuing professional development.

The research method was the mixed method. The data were gathered from focus group interviews of 35 educators and from a cross-sectional survey of 420 educators in 2018. The qualitative data were analyzed with inductive content analysis. The quantitative data were used for scale and model development. Scale development comprised four phases: defining the concept, item pool, expert review and psychometric testing. The modeling process comprised two phases: confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM).

The comprehensive model’s results indicate that continuing professional development comprises two basic elements and six minor elements within the basic elements and illustrate how the minor elements are connected. The first basic element is educators´ understanding of the benefits of continuing professional development and seeking support for it. The second basic element is based on a strong first element and means that educators will not only recognize learning needs in which the pedagogical needs are crucial, but they will also recognize their need to develop their clinical and challenging teaching situations competencies. The minor elements are described in the comprehensive model’s qualitative results, and educators can assess these elements with the newly developed EduProDe scale.

The results of this research will generally increase the knowledge and understanding about social and health care educators´ continuing professional development. With this knowledge the educational organizations can create new opportunities for educators to develop their competencies and new possibilities to enhance educators´ career path. The comprehensive model could be utilized to increase educator students’ knowledge about continuous learning and as a tool to guide organizational recruitment. The model may also be useful in the design of shared continuing development programs, which are based on research evidence and are organized nationally through universities. The model could enhance joint education among social and healthcare students and finally integrate working practices in social and healthcare field.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-03-2272-4
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028


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