Professional Development Dictionary and Guide for the Health and Allied Health Professions

Nathaniel Wesley Jr., MHA, FACHE
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ISBN 978-0-9816505-5-5

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A guide for the twenty-first century student to the new knowledge and information about professional development!

Based on Dr. Nathaniel Wesley's unique ABC concept of five characteristics'

1. Attitude
2. Behavior
3. Competence
4. Discipline
5. Excellence

In the dictionary section, you will also find applications of professional development terms like:

' Attention Span
' Attitude
' Body Language
' Burning Bridges
' Closed Doors
' Compassion
' Diversity
' Eye Contact
' Facial Expression
' Humor
' Obstructive Behavior
' Romance in the Workplace


Introduction to the ABC Model for Professional Development

For more than 35 years, I have provided educational instruction and practical advice in professional development (PD) for students in the health professions. My approach, strategy, philosophy and instructional methodology over those years have been rather traditionally based on what curriculum content I thought to be important for student career growth and development. Serving as internship and residency coordinator for a number of educational programs has enhanced my insight and understanding regarding PD. I have been able to interact with hundreds of students and preceptors. It is through this interaction with student preceptors, employment recruiters and successful practitioners that I realized that the traditional PD model needed to be changed if the 21st century student in health professions educational and training programs is going to meet the personal and professional development challenges and expectations of their future.

Traditional professional development training emphasizes five primary areas: 1) resume preparation; 2) interviewing skills; 3) employment search; 4) dining etiquette, and 5) professional attire. Although some attention has been paid to personal traits and organizational behavior issues, that attention has been minimal. With the shift from 'technical' competence to 'behavioral' attributes in the corporate-business world, professional development education and training has created more of a balance between what is needed to identify career opportunities and the keys to successful career planning, growth and advancement. Therefore, 'soft skills' emerged and started to be incorporated into course curricula and PD programs and activities in both management and health professions educational programs. Almost all PD courses and programs provide education and training components that combine personal development with professional development in a manner that assures employers of getting a wellrounded graduate who brings a 'value-added' dimension to the organization.

So I created the ABC model for professional development. I realized that the 21st century student may need more knowledge and information about personal development from a professional development perspective than students in past years. A number of reasons may be suggested for this 'gap.' However, it presents an endless debate. The 21st century student in health professions seems to be better prepared with technical skills and scholastic aptitude than with professional and personal character traits. While my interaction has been primarily with students in health management education programs and other allied health programs, my experience and expertise extend to students in all health profession education programs. Regardless of the profession or how intense PD courses are, there is a need for more professional development knowledge and understanding of how important personal growth and development is to the acquisition, development and enhancement of 'soft skills' in the marketplace.

The ABC concept is based on five characteristics: 1) attitude, 2) behavior, 3) competence, 4) discipline, and 5) excellence. The majority of the terms and terminology in this publication may be categorized into these five characteristics. One might consider these the personal development components which are manifested through professional development traits and skills. This model has served students well since it has become a 'catch phrase' model that captures the central principles and practices that employers seek in a potentially successful health professional.

Here is a brief definition of the five PD characteristics:


A state of mind or feeling, manner of acting, a mental position with regard to a fact or state.


The manner in which one behaves. The action or reaction of persons or things in response to external or internal stimuli. The way a person behaves toward other people.


The quality of being competent, possession of required skills, knowledge, qualification or capacity, sufficiency of quantity, capable of performing an allotted function.


Training to act in accordance with rules and drill, behavior in accord with rules of conduct, behavior, and order maintained by training and control, self control, to train by instruction or practice.


The state, quality, or condition of excelling, superiority, an excellent quality of feature, distinctive, meritorious, preeminence.

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