What constitutes an excellent allied health care professional? a multidisciplinary focus group study

Wolter Paans, Inge Wijkamp, Egbert Wiltens, Marca Wolfensberger

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Background: Determining what constitutes an excellent allied health care professional (AHCP) is important, since this is what will guide the development of curricula for training future physical therapists, oral hygienists, speech therapists, diagnostic radiographers, and dietitians. This also determines the quality of care.
Aim: To describe perspectives of AHCPs on which characteristics are commonly associated with an excellent AHCP.
Methods: AHCPs’ perspectives were derived from three focus group discussions. Twenty-one health care professionals participated. The final analysis of the focus group discussions produced eight domains, in which content validity was obtained through a Delphi panel survey of 27 contributing experts.
Results: According to the survey, a combination of the following characteristics defines an excellent AHCP: (1) cognizance, to obtain and to apply knowledge in a broad multidisciplinary health care field; (2) cooperativity, to effectively work with others in a multidisciplinary con¬text; (3) communicative, to communicate effectively at different levels in complex situations; (4) initiative, to initiate new ideas, to act proactively, and to follow them through; (5) innovative, to devise new ideas and to implement alternatives beyond current practices; (6) introspective, to self-examine and to reflect; (7) broad perspective, to capture the big picture; and (8) evidence-driven, to find and to use scientific evidence to guide one’s decisions.
Conclusion: The AHCPs perspectives can be used as a reference for personal improvement for supervisors and professionals in clinical practice and for educational purposes. These perspectives may serve as a guide against which talented students can evaluate themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-356
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


  • clinical excellence
  • focus groups
  • health care
  • honors programs
  • multidisciplinary care


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