Project description CEMTE

Schools and healthcare are complex arenas with high demands on the professionals working there. Teachers and physicians have historically been treated with great respect for their professional competence. However, today these professions are characterized by more controlled management, administration and a culture of evaluation and accountability which has permeated these public functions in recent years.

Emotional challenges in teacher and medical education

The professional work required by teachers and physicians is demanding in relation to psychological, cognitive, and emotional demands.  Both groups must consider, and as much as possible provide support, in relation to patients’ and pupils’ needs.

There is a great responsibility for teacher and medical education programs  to prepare students for coming challenges in their future professions. These professions have clear emotional dimensions and students experience a variety of situation during their education as emotionally challenging, especially during work based education. These situations relate to encountering pupils and patients and the local setting of schools and health care with a certain set of values and norms in the workplace. These experiences could generate stress and feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty.

We have investigated which situations student teachers and medical students experience as emotionally challenging, as well as the support they receive. In our project the focus has been on emotional demands on the individual that characterize these professions and the social and emotional resources that might be available in the workplace. Today there are a lot of attrition from teacher education and the teacher profession which is troublesome for our society. There is also attrition from the health care sector. Burnout and decreasing psychological well-being are common conditions among both teachers and health care professionals. Education with a focus on professional development, where students can gain  better skills to handle emotional challenging situations can contribute to an easier transition between education and working life, as well as a sustainable working life and better psychological well-being in these professional  groups.

Supervision and mentoring during work based education

Teacher and medical education have in common that they are large educational programs that will require that the students have contact and connect with people. Hence, the work based part of the education is an important part of the educational program for these professions.

During the work based part of the education the students encounter the complex reality of schools or health care. They have an opportunity to apply and integrate their theoretical knowledge and practical skills as well as developing a professional approach and identity. The students’ learning during the work based part of the education is supported by mentors/supervisors, i.e., working teachers and health care professionals respectively.

We have concluded that research of mentors/supervisors’ perspective and conditions to contribute to students’ professional development is scarce, especially when it comes to handling students’ experiences of emotional challenging situations.

Mentors/supervisors have a key role in this work, both through working close with the students during their work based part of the education and also because they can be involved in the development of the professional education of the groups. We aim to contribute to the professional development during the educational programs, and in relation to mentor/supervisor competence.


CEMTE - a research collaboration between Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linköping University and Stockholm University.

Content reviewer:
Åsa Catapano