Research that belongs to 'Professionals and Performance' is about the following questions and related descriptions:
- How do professionals deal with work pressure and remain motivated?
Given the dynamic situation of changing work contexts, it is a challenge for professionals to maintain a proper balance between job demands and job resources in order to remain a healthy, happy, motivated and productive professional. New job demands may include ambiguity, administrative chores and job insecurity. New job resources may include performance feedback, learning new routines and competencies. Excess work demands or the lack of resources may not only have a negative impact on the professionals themselves, but also on their clients, patients, students or customers, their performance and the organisations they work for. The main issue is how professionals deal with work pressure and remain healthy, motivated and productive professionals.
- Which competencies do professionals require to be able and capable to deliver?
Professional education is a prerequisite for a competent workforce, an internal quality-control mechanism within professions: educating new generations and preparing graduates for a rapidly-changing professional environment with continuously new demands. Professionals must individually adapt to new demands, which requires lifelong learning, and take up leadership roles to challenge and adapt contexts (Frenk et al., 2010). Professional expertise development throughout a professional career demands a transition from knowledge expert to professional expert, i.e. someone who knows how to combine knowledge and professional demands. The predominant model of professional education, i.e. theoretical preparation in the classroom with subsequent practical experience, may have to be rethought. Professional learning is shifting from an educational setting to a workplace setting. Two new concepts are important. One is ‘deliberate practice’, which implies that expert performance is acquired gradually and that performance improvement requires suitable training tasks that the performer can master sequentially (Ericsson, Charness, Feltovich & Hoffman, 2006). The other is the concept of ‘Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)’, units of professional practice that can be entrusted to learners to be carried out unsupervised once they demonstrate sufficient competence. EPAs shift the focus of the education and assessment of professionals to what really matters in the workplace. They also shift the focus of assessment to a matter of trust, rather than grading. The use of EPAs may affect the transparency of educational objectives, certification and licensure for critical tasks. Although these effects need to be studied (O’Neill, 2002), this may lead to restored public trust in the medical profession.