Educational scholarship for the health professions: Enhancing our engagement with the HPE literature

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background and Aims:
Health professions education (HPE) encompasses educational research across all health professions. In much the same way as medicine, nursing, and speech pathology are disciplines of health, HPE is emerging as its own 'specialist' field of enquiry. Despite the growth in this field, our knowledge of the breadth of HPE-specific journals may be limited to what we learn from our colleagues and anecdotal evidence about potentially relevant publication sources Further, little is known about how the different health professions interact across HPE journals. To address these gaps in our understanding, we examined the journal literature. We sought to: (1) determine whether HPE could be considered a profession in its own right, through the identification of HPE-specific journals; and (2) understand the relationships between different health professions by analysing intra- and inter- disciplinary citation patterns across HPE journals.

This study used a conceptual framework comprised of two theoretical propositions, developed from the sociology of professions literature. These propositions relate to key characteristics of a profession: (1) a comprehensive body of knowledge (the knowledge proposition); and (2) alignment with, and distancing from, other professions (the boundaries proposition).Using a comprehensive literature search spanning 10 years (2006-2015), a set of HPE journals was identified. After inclusion criteria were applied (i.e., 2015 SCImago Quartile Ranking of 1-2 for education, indexing in Scopus, and 2015 Impact Factor), a subset of 18 higher quality journals formed the basis of an analysis of citation patterns across these journals.

Multiple search strategies identified 50 HPE journals, supporting the knowledge proposition. Journals were grouped according to profession, the majority of which were categorised as interdisciplinary, medicine, and nursing and/or midwifery. Other journals were grouped into dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, respiratory care, physical therapy, and physician assistant. In addition, six of the journals had a multidisciplinary focus.Citation pattern analysis of the 18 subset journals revealed that each professional group cited itself the most (intradisciplinary citation), suggesting that there are distinct boundaries around professional groups within HPE, supporting the boundaries proposition. The next most commonly cited papers were those from interdisciplinary journals, supporting the idea that HPE is itself an interdisciplinary field of inquiry.

Engagement with educational scholarship for the health professions could be enhanced by expanding our understanding of the depth and breadth of HPE journals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event16th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 9 Jan 201913 Jan 2019
Conference number: 16


Conference16th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference
Abbreviated titleAPMEC 2019
OtherWe have specially chosen our theme "Education for Health – Trends ● Issues ● Priorities ● Strategies (TIPS)". The aim of the conference is to share our experiences as educators, and learn from experts in medical and healthcare professional education some of the latest ideas, and best practices adopted internationally. This is also an opportunity for participants to stimulate discussions in medical and health professional education with the experts.


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