Differences in opinions of occupational physicians on the required competencies by field of practice: results of an international Delphi study

Demou, E. , Lalloo, D. and MacDonald, E. B. (2018) Differences in opinions of occupational physicians on the required competencies by field of practice: results of an international Delphi study. BMC Medical Education, 18, 62. (doi:10.1186/s12909-018-1139-9) (PMID:29609560) (PMCID:PMC5879917)

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Abstract

Background: The activities and work demands of medical professionals, including occupational physicians (OPs), fall into three categories: clinical, academic, and administrative. Work demands of an OP consist of these three categories and additional specialty specific roles and competencies. Research on the core competencies and skills required for OPs have identified high levels of consensus amongst OPs internationally, however these opinions have not been examined between areas of practice specific groups. Furthermore, it has been identified that to a large extent academics are often the group who define the skills required of OPs. The aim of this study is to compare the opinions of OPs grouped by field of practice on the common core competencies required for occupational health (OH) practice using results from an international survey. Methods: An international modified Delphi study conducted among OPs, completed in two rounds (Rating-Round 1; Ranking-Round 2) using developed questionnaires based on the specialist training syllabus of a number of countries and expert discussions. Respondents were categorised as Physician, Manager/Physician, and Academic/Physician, based on self-reported job titles and place of work. Results: There was good agreement between the Physician and Manager/Physician groups, with the Academic/Physician group deviating the most. The top three and bottom three principle domains (PDs) were in good agreement across all groups. The top three were clinically based and would be considered core OH activities. The PDs with considerable intergroup variance were Environmental Issues Related to Work Practice and Communication Skills, categories which may reflect direct relevance and relative importance to the job tasks of respective groups. Conclusion: This study demonstrated general agreement between the three occupational groups. Academic/Physician opinions deviate the most, while good agreement is depicted between the Physician and Manager/Physician groups. The findings of this study can help identify potential gaps in training requirements for OPs and be used as a stepping stone to developing training programmes that are reflective of practice and tailored for those predominantly undertaking these specific roles.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacDonald, Professor Ewan and Demou, Dr Evangelia and Lalloo, Dr Drushca
Authors: Demou, E., Lalloo, D., and MacDonald, E. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:BMC Medical Education
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6920
ISSN (Online):1472-6920
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Medical Education 18:62
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU