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Eur J Psychol. 2015 Aug 20;11(3):535-56. doi: 10.5964/ejop.v11i3.923. eCollection 2015 Aug.

Improving Patient Outcomes: Effectively Training Healthcare Staff in Psychological Practice Skills: A Mixed Systematic Literature Review.

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Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Saint Andrew's Healthcare, Northampton, United Kingdom.
Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom.
Kanellakis and Associates, London, United Kingdom.


Training is an important part of modern European healthcare services and is often cited as a way to improve care quality. To date, various training methods have been used to impart skills relevant to psychological practice in a variety of mental health professionals. However, patient outcomes are rarely used in evaluating the effectiveness of the different training methods used, making it difficult to assess true utility. In the present review, we consider methods of training that can effectively impact trainee and patient outcomes. To do so, PubMed, PsycNET, Scopus, CENTRAL and ERIC were searched for studies on training of healthcare staff in psychological practice approaches. In total, 24 studies were identified (16 quantitative and 8 qualitative). For the most part, group, individual, and web-based training was used. A variety of health professionals were trained in skills including 'communication', 'diagnosis', and 'referral' to name but a few. In the majority of studies staff skill level improved. These findings hold implications for the design, implementation, and evaluation of training for mental healthcare staff.


communication; general practitioners; mental health professionals; multidisciplinary team; nurses; professional development; psychology; skills; training

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