Social, health care and rehabilitation educators' competence in professional education: Empirical testing of a model

Kristina Mikkonen, Heli-Maria Kuivila, Tuulikki Sjögren, Hilkka Korpi, Camilla Koskinen, Monika Koskinen, Meeri Koivula, Minna Koskimäki, Marja-Leena Lähteenmäki, Terhi Saaranen, Marjorita Sormunen, Leena Salminen, Hanne Mäki-Hakola, Outi Wallin, Arja Holopainen, Anna-Maria Tuomikoski, Maria Kääriäinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The social and health care educator's role in educating future professionals need to be stronger emphasised and deserves international recognition. The purpose of this study was to develop and test an empirical model of social and health care educators' competence in higher and professional education. The presented research employed a cross-sectional study design. Data were collected using HeSoEduCo-instrument from 28 educational institutions in Finland. The model was empirically tested with confirmatory factor analysis through Structural Equation Modelling that applied the Full Imputation Maximum Likelihood estimator. A total of 422 social and health care educators participated in the study. The empirical model of social and health care educators including eight competence areas: leadership and management, collaboration and societal, evidence-based practice, subject and curriculum, mentoring students in professional competence development, student-centred pedagogy, digital collaborative learning, and cultural and linguistic diversity. All of the connections between concepts of the empirical model were found to be statistically significant. There were strong connections between most of the identified competence concepts; however, two weak connections were found, namely, the link between competence in evidence-based practice and competence in subject and curriculum, along with the link between competence in digital collaborative learning and competence in student-centred pedagogy. The presented empirical model can help stakeholders identify which areas of social and health care educators' curricula should be further developed. The model is also relevant for improving continuous education, allowing educators to assess their competence levels and evaluating educators' performance at the organisational level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • competence
  • educator
  • health care
  • higher education
  • rehabilitation
  • social care
  • vocational education

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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