Generic versus specific competencies of entry-level public health graduates: employer's perceptions in Poland, the UK, and the Netherlands

R.G. Biesma*, M.I. Pavlova, R. Vaatstra, G.G. van Merode, K. Czabanowska, T. Smith, W.N.J. Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

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Constant changes in society and the public health domain force public health professionals into new roles and the development of new competencies. Public health professionals will need to be trained to respond to this challenge. The aim of this comparative study among poland, the uk and the netherlands is to identify competence needs for master of public health graduates entering the labour market from a european perspective. A self-administered questionnaire was sent to employers in the three countries, rating the importance of competency in public health on a master’s level. In all three countries, interpersonal competencies, like team working and communication skills, are rated as highly important. However, employers in the uk and poland generally rate public health specific competencies as much more important than their dutch colleagues. It is concluded that while public health specific knowledge is providing a useful starting point for entry-level public health professionals, employers increasingly recognise the value of generic competencies such as communication and team working skills. The results suggest a stronger emphasis on teaching methods that encourage active learning and the integration of skills, which is crucial for enhancing graduates’ employability, and foster an open attitude to multidisciplinary working, which is essential in modern health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-343
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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