Health and social care leaders’ self-rated competence and learning needs in small and medium-sized enterprises

Mari Helena Salminen-Tuomaala, Kirsi Paavola, Paula Paussu


Objective: The study is a descriptive survey based on quantitative and qualitative data. Its purpose is to describe leaders’ self-assessed competence and learning needs in small and medium-sized health and social care enterprises as part of a larger research and development project in Finland. The information produced will be used in planning a simulation-based coaching intervention. The project partners are a health technology enterprise and two educational institutions.

Methods: Data were collected in late 2017 from 23 leaders of 20 enterprises using an internet-based questionnaire. The quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows and the qualitative data using inductive content analysis.

Results: The leaders felt confident about their ability to organize day-to-day activities, but reported learning needs related to interaction and entrepreneurship. Training was required in supporting staff in challenging situations, in understanding group dynamics and in developing dialogic interaction and emotional intelligence. The leaders were interested in learning how to market their services and improve the competitiveness of their enterprise with help of digitalization and networking, and how to prepare for the reform of health and social services. Most leaders were involved in practical care work and reported a need to update their clinical skills.

Conclusions: Increasing self-management contents and fostering an entrepreneurial attitude in nursing and social work curricula may provide one answer to the learning needs reported in this study. Simulation-based education can provide an effective learning environment for both students and professionals in health and social services.

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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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