Professional skill development needs of newly graduated health professionals: A systematic literature review

Simone Gibson, Elizabeth Molloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Health professionals need a variety of skiiis for successful practice and patient care. Although much focus has been placed on clinical skill and knowledge acquirement during undergraduate degrees, it is becoming increasingly recognised that a range of professional skills are required for safe and effective practice. These include communication, reflection, ethical practice, teamwork and professional development. This systematic review aimed to identify the skill development needs of newly graduated health professionals that are required for effective practice, in terms of the professional skills identified and possible causes for deficits. Scopus, Psych Info and ERIC databases were searched for relevant data published from 2000-2009 using described criteria. The review suggests that curriculum planners, educators and senior clinicians regard professional skills important in healthcare practice. However, these skills are not rigorously measured throughout undergraduate programs, and graduates are often ill-equipped to practise them. The roles of clinical supervisors, educators and healthcare organisations were found to be essential in the training and consolidation of professional skills in the long term. Despite the improved awareness of the value of these skills, health professional educators need to consider robustly evaluating the preparedness of graduates for practice, further developing innovative teaching methods, establishing more rigorous and reliable assessment processes and providing ongoing support and recognition of professional skills to enable future graduates to excel in diverse and complex environments. A transparent and integrated professional skills curriculum with associated formative and summative assessment procedures is likely to bolster recognition of the importance of professional skills and support incremental skill development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 83
Number of pages13
JournalFocus on Health Professional Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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