EDUCATING FUTURE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS FOR EXCELLENT STRESS MANAGEMENT ACROSS EUROPE
In particularly challenging times of steadily increasing numbers of burnout in European workplaces, we propose in the frame of the IMPRESS project (Project reference: 588315-EPP-1-2017-1-ES-EPPKA2-KA funded by Erasmus Plus) an innovative curriculum for HEI students in organizational psychology focusing on excellent stress management. Young people entering the labour market have to be prepared to sustain their health in a stressful and economic situation where changing employers and sectors is becoming part of a regular employment history. Future Human Resource practitioners need to understand the importance of fostering employee well-being as pillar of competitive advantage, talent attraction and retention, and employee performance. The proposed curriculum is based on results of an online survey that found similar work-related stress factors in four countries (ES, DE, IR, LV) showing the high need of European companies for Human Resource Management competences related to occupational health, thus arguing for a unified HEI curriculum proposal.
Following the scientist-practitioner model, HEIs as well as practitioners of the above-mentioned countries developed a curriculum including assessment, intervention and excellence-related competences for stress-management based on online tools. As a first pilot has been carried out with Bachelor students of Organizational Psychology; a fine-tuned theory-seminar package was developed and run in a Bachelor course for psychology students of Organizational Behaviour.
The developed learning material covered:
a) a self-assessment,
b) theoretical knowledge about state-of-the-art research on occupational stress management,
c) a problem-based role-playing scenario, and
d) a real case study for student teams.
An Evaluation of the competences, the self-assessment, learning material, and case study showed satisfactory results.
The IMPRESS project is a prime example of how to integrate innovative applied tools into HEI curricula as both learning medium and future working tool. Moreover, all training materials can be deployed virtually and have interactive components such as knowledge quizzes and group work.