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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

RODRIGUEZ, Dolors et al. Current and future competencies for public health professionals. Gac Sanit [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.5, pp.388-397. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2012.10.005.

Objectives: To identify current and future competencies (managers and technicians) for public health professionals in Catalonia (Spain). Methods: Qualitative research with a phenomenological approach. Between November 2009 and February 2010, 31 semistructured interviews were completed with public health professionals working in Catalonia. We purposely used a theoretical sample to include the maximum multiplicity of discourses. We conducted a thematic content analysis. Results: We obtained a wide range of current professional competencies, as well as those required for the future, classified according to professional profile. The participants highlighted transversal competencies, such as the importance of sharing a general theoretical framework of the discipline and the institution. Among the most frequently reported competencies were knowledge management, communication skills, teamwork, multidisciplinary and intersectoral orientation, legal knowledge, computer skills and languages, particularly English. It was also important for individual professionals to have specific skills in their areas of activity. In terms of differences between managers and technicians, the study showed that technicians prioritize management skills concerning human and material resources, while managers emphasize organizational and professional public health expertise. Conclusions: There is a need for transversal and specific competencies in distinct areas. Public health is a multidisciplinary field, which collaborates with a wide range of professionals and organizations.

Keywords : Public health; Professional competency; Qualitative research; Interview as topic.

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