The Education Journal of the
Woodruff Health Sciences Center

The Education Journal of the
Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Describing Professional Identity Formation in Health Professions Students 

Linda Orkin Lewin, MD 


Professional identity formation (PIF) occurs when individuals observe, practice, and gain confidence in the values of their profession. This process occurs while all of one’s other identities are also solidifying and requires blending expectations and values from several different sources. There is little known about how that process unfolds in future healthcare professionals.

Plans to date

To date, there have been a few small attempts to build the idea of PIF into curricula for early health professions students, but no focused projects across schools. A group from the School of Nursing and School of Medicine have developed a tool for using the Kegan Model of Adult Development to understand the process of how students think about interprofessional collaboration and their own wellness in a pilot elective; this tool might be useful in other settings as well.

Collaboration Desired

I would like to convene a group of interested educators from across all the health science schools and programs, including the health care system by autumn 2023. The goal for this collaboration is to think of ways to investigate how PIF occurs in our students and consider whether the Kegan Model of Adult Development would help in that effort.

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