gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Volker Heyse, Arnulf D. Schircks (Hrsg): Kompetenzprofile in der Humanmedizin

book report medicine

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author Severin Pinilla - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik, Klinikum Großhadern, München, Deutschland

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2014;31(1):Doc3

doi: 10.3205/zma000895, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0008957

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: November 29, 2013
Revised: January 13, 2014
Accepted: January 13, 2014
Published: February 17, 2014

© 2014 Pinilla.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

Bibliographical details

Volker Heyse, Arnulf D. Schircks (Hrsg)

Kompetenzprofile in der Humanmedizin

Waxmann-Verlag, Münster

Erscheinungsjahr: 2012, Seiten: 223, € 38,00

ISBN-13: 978-3830927488


The edited volume „Competency profiles in Medicine“ (published by Waxmann), brings together the results of several Swiss studies with regards to competency profiles in medicine and offers critical discussions of the implications for medical education and training. The emphasis of the book lies on key competencies other than medical knowledge and medical expertise in a changing working environment for health care professionals.

The editors Volker Heyse and Arnulf Schircks combine their longstanding experience with coaching and organizational psychology, previous research on assessment and development of competencies (“KompetenzAtlas”) with recent data from expert workshops, qualitative and quantitative studies as well as literature reviews conducted between October 2010 and March 2011.

The book is organized into five chapters. The first chapter defines basic concepts and analyzes current and expected trends in the (Swiss) health care system. The authors then continue to derive key competencies for health care professionals from these trends and illustrate how these might complement existing competency frameworks (CanMEDS, SCLO). They also point out specific research gaps and potential areas of further development.

A novice in the field of competency development and assessment might have difficulties not getting lost with 64 key competencies and 21 different working environments for health care professionals. Some of the tables would have benefited from more detailed legends.

Max Giger analyses the current condition of graduate medical training in Switzerland in the second chapter. The following two chapters investigate core aspects of the presented key competencies in varying detail (current areas of research with regards to assessment and teaching of key competencies, detailed overview on operationalized key competencies).

The final chapter is an entertaining discussion between an educational researcher and a health care professional. One might find helpful arguments to support constructive “change management” with regards to teaching competencies and reforming medical curricula.

Despite the fact that the authors primarily focused on the Swiss context, the results of the investigated key competencies and operationalized constructs are without doubt relevant for the international discourse on competencies in medicine. The literature overview by Jana Jünger and Martina Kadmon on the presence of key competencies in various competency catalogues and current state of research is particularly helpful. The fourth chapter serves well as a quick reference and basis for discussing and researching operationalized key competencies.

The book „Competency profiles in Medicine“ could be seen as a navigator for current trends in the health sector and resulting competency requirements for health care professionals. The chapters are arranged in a way so that various stakeholders (residency directors, physicians in training, undergraduate medical students, policy makers) can find ideas and suggestions for current debates and research projects in the context of learning goals, competency frameworks and key competencies.

Competing interests

The author declares that he has no competing interests.