Medical educators should foster students’ professional attitudes because individuals are more likely to act in accordance with medicine’s professional values if these values have been internalized. Still, there is much to be learned about how students examine and negotiate their emerging identities. This study examined third-year medical students’ experiences of professional identity formation (PIF) during clinical clerkship.
The authors relied on an interpretivist perspective, informed by a grounded theory approach, to analyze data, which were collected from a pilot course designed to support medical students’ efforts to “unhide” the hidden curriculum in relation to their development as medical students and emerging professionals.
Twelve third-year medical students engaged in 10 collaborative discussions with 3 faculty members, a resident, and a fourth-year student (2015–2016). Discussions facilitated students’ reflection on their professional journeys. Analysis of transcribed discussions resulted in a conceptual framework useful for exploring and understanding students’ reflections on their PIF. Through analyzing students’ experiences, the authors identified 4 components that constituted PIF stories: context, focus, catalyst, process.
The analysis resulted in the development of a conceptual framework and distinct identity formation themes. Discrete reflections focused on either students’ current identity (being) or their sense of future self (becoming). The study identified catalysts that sparked participants’ introspection about, or their processing of, identity. The moments that generate profound feelings of awareness in students are often moments that would not be recognizable (even post hoc) as remarkable by others.
S. Jarvis-Selinger is professor and associate dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and former director of curriculum, Undergraduate Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9926-2569.
K.A. MacNeil is a PhD candidate, Department of Educational Counselling, Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8050-0819.
G.R.L. Costello is clinical instructor, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
K. Lee is a fourth-year pediatrics resident, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5164-105X.
C.L. Holmes is clinical professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Critical Care, and associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5857-2704.
Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A699.
Funding/Support: University of British Columbia (Student Voice Project/Hidden Curriculum Grant 20S50517).
Other disclosures: None reported.
Ethical approval: This study was approved by the University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board (H14-03276 PIECES: Professional Identity Formation in Early Clerkship Education Study).
Previous presentations: Jarvis-Selinger S, Costello G, Lee K, Holmes C, MacNeil K. Understanding professional identity in early clerkship. Presented at: Canadian Conference on Medical Education; April 29–May 2, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Costello G, Lee K, Holmes CL, Jarvis-Selinger S, Maclure M, Regehr G. Tales from the fringe: Navigating professional identity in early clerkship. Presented at: Canadian Conference on Medical Education; April 16–19, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Correspondence should be addressed to Sandra Jarvis-Selinger, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of British Columbia, 2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3 Canada; telephone: (604) 822-2061; email: email@example.com; Twitter: @sjs_ubc.