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Publication Detail
Changing professional behaviours: mixed methods study utilising psychological theories to evaluate an educational programme for UK medical doctors.
Abstract
BACKGROUND: The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) has been proposed as a useful framework to investigate professional behaviour, however, was not yet applied to the evaluation of an educational intervention. This study will address this gap by utilising the TPB to evaluate the effectiveness of an education programme delivered by the professional regulator for UK doctors in enhancing three professional behaviours: raising concerns, engaging in reflective practice, and use of regulator confidentiality guidance. METHODS: This is a comprehensive mixed methods study combining qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (quasi-experiment) data. Intervention participants were asked to complete a survey measuring the variables in the TPB (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, and intention) for the three professional behaviours before, immediately post, and 3-months later following the education programme. Ninety-four doctors completed the survey pre/post intervention and 38 at all three times. One hundred and eleven doctors from the same hospital trust who did not take part in the intervention completed the survey at two time points and formed the control group. Forty-two interviews were conducted with intervention participants. RESULTS: The quantitative study revealed that the educational intervention significantly improved attitudes (raising concerns, using confidentiality guidance), subjective norms (raising concerns, reflective practice, using confidentiality guidance), perceived control (raising concerns, using confidentiality guidance), and intentions (using confidentiality guidance) (Group and Time interaction; Fs ≥ 3.996, ps ≤ .047, ηp2 ≥ .020). Non-UK graduate doctors' subjective norms towards raising concerns and confidentiality guidance increased significantly after the intervention (Fs ≤ 6.602, ps ≥ .011, ηp2 = .032 F = 6.602, p = .011, ηp2 = .032), but not UK graduates (p > .05). Interviews revealed that doctors had positive views about professional behaviours but also mentioned numerous barriers to actually engage in more complex, context dependent behaviours. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that an educational intervention was successful in improving the TPB variables of three professional behaviours. It also revealed that teaching professionalism does not happen in isolation and, therefore, personal and contextual factors are crucial to consider. To change complex professional behaviours, barriers at all levels i.e., personal, organisational and system, should be addressed.
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