Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Key Policy Issue #3: Which educators and trainers? Which career pathways?

The selection and recruitment of qualified educators and trainers is a crucial part of the scaling up and transformation of the education of health professionals. Recruited staff should have adequate clinical and scientific competencies, but they rarely have the pedagogical preparation (communication, adult learning principles, use of new information technology, etc.) required to function in the transformed environment.

Faculty development is, therefore, important to ensure that teachers and trainers are well prepared to assume their responsibilities as educators. Faculty development is defined as a planned programme of events aimed at preparing individuals for their roles as teachers, clinicians, researchers and administrators with the purpose of enabling the institution to meet its goals, vision and mission, and its social and moral responsibilities to the communities it serves (Frenk, et al., 2010; Couper, et al., 2012). Another relevant issue is that, in many instances, teaching is not the most important activity of teachers, being considered complementary to, or even a diversion from, patient care and research which are perceived as more rewarding.

The current and proposed effort to train more doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals puts an extra burden on institutions and their staff; more educators are needed and their functions must be made more attractive. Incentives such as access to faculty development are part of the response to bridge the gap between teaching and clinical work by allowing interaction between monitoring and coaching, relationships and networks, organizations, systems and cultures, and tasks and activities. In order to facilitate the attraction and retention of educators, career structures and incentive and reward systems need to be developed or improved. Specific efforts are needed to train and attract teaching staff with competencies in primary care in order to provide future health professionals not only with knowledge in the field, but also with role models which can stimulate them to choose this career orientation.