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Professional Identity in Nursing

Professional Identity in Nursing


Communicating the Case for Forming and Fostering Professional Identity in Nursing
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The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.--- Confucius

Professional Identity in Nursing:
--a sense of oneself that is influenced by the characteristics, norms and values of the nursing discipline, resulting in the individual thinking, acting and feeling like a nurse.7

Background:

While professional identity is a recognized term in many disciplines, the terms professional identity or professional identity formation are relatively absent in nursing literature and research, particularly in publications from the US.

From other disciplines, we know that:

  1. Identity and psychological well being are linked.1,2 
  2. Individuals who define their professional priorities more broadly and realistically seem much better placed to draw satisfaction from their role.3
  3. Identity formation tends to be learner-focused and developmental in nature.5
  4. Professional identity and self-concept appear to be linked.8

Mission:

To enhance the effectiveness of nursing practice, education and regulation through understanding and fostering professional identity formation. 

Talking Points:

  • Identity and psychological well being are linked.1,2
  • Individuals who define their professional priorities more broadly and realistically seem much better placed to draw satisfaction from their role.3
  • A greater focus on developing the individual's understanding of self and their own identity formation may be helpful in professional identity formation.4
  • Identity formation tends to be learner-focused and developmental in nature.5
  • Understanding the drivers of developing a sound, positive professional identity can enable teachers and leaders to have a positive effect on the individual nurse and the profession as a whole.6

References:

1Thoits, P. (2015). Self, identity, stress and mental health. In Aneshensel, C.S., Phelan, J.C. & Bierman, A., editors. Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health. Dordrecht: Springer: 357-77.

2Wald, H.S., Anthony, D., Hutchinson, T.A., et al. (2015). Professional identity formation in medical education for humanistic, resilient physicians: Pedagogic strategies for bridging theory to practice. Academic Medicine, 90 (6), 753-60.

3Armitage-Chan, E. & May, S.A. (2018). Identity, environment and mental well-being of the veterinary profession. Veterinary Record, 183:68.

4Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V. & Day, L. (2010). Educating nurses: A call for radical transformation. Carnegie Foundation, Washington, DC.

5Irby, D. M. & Hamstra, S. J. (2016). Parting the clouds: Three professionalism frameworks in medical education. Academic Medicine, 91 (12), 1606-1611.

6Johnson, M, Cowin, L.S., Wilson, I., Young, H. (2012). Professional identity and nursing: Contemporary theoretical developments and future research challenges. International Nursing Review, 59 (4), 562-569.

7Godfrey, N. & Crigger, N. (2017). Professional Identity. In Giddens, J., Ed., Concepts of Nursing Practice, 2nd Edition, 379-386.

8Tinkler, L., Smith, V., Yiannakou, Y. & Robinson, L. (2018). Professional identity and the clinical research nurse: A qualitative study exploring issues having an impact on participant recruitment in research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(2): 318-328.

Last modified: Feb 26, 2019
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