Education and Training eLearning

For front line staff, managers and organisational change practitioners helping health and social care teams change with new models of care.

Education and training eLearning modules:

Healthcare professional behaviour

Healthcare professional practice is very complex and cannot entirely be broken down into separate behaviours. However, sometimes it is useful to think of the individual behaviours that make up parts of professional pactice and what causes healthcare professions to behave in the ways that they do.

What do we know about why healthcare professionals practice in the way that they do?

Scientists and social scientists have studied what determines people’s behaviour for many years.  The study of behaviour has led to a number of hypotheses which can be summarised as:

  • Behaviour is what we do.  <It is influenced by what we think and feel but it is not the same as what we think and feel.  Our attitudes and beliefs are not the same as our behaviours, although they are obviously linked to each other.>
  • People do not make rational decisions <about all of their behaviours.  Some behaviours happen automatically with very little weighing up of the costs and benefits of either the behaviour or of the potential outcomes of behaving in that way.>
  • Internal factors, <such as our impulses and our previous experiences and external factors, have an impact on our behaviour. This can include what is going on around us and who is with us.
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you will. <There is no direct line between what a person CAN do and what they WILL do.  We need to be able to do something in order to do it, of course, but even if we are able we might not, depending on many other factors.>

How does this link to what healthcare professionals do?

Watch this animation to find out more about what we know about healthcare professional behaviour.

Check your understanding

Recognising different determinants of behaviour

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