Professional Identity Formation

AACP Article

Professional Identity Formation

“The terms professionalism and professional identity are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Developing student professionalism has been part of pharmacy education for decades, the perceived importance of which has grown with the advanced role of the pharmacist as an equal member of the healthcare team. The intent of developing professionalism in pharmacy students is to lay the foundation for the professional behaviors and displayed attitudes expected of a practicing pharmacist. In concert with the technical knowledge and skills required of a pharmacist, professionalism allows for ethical, patient-centered care and contributes to the public trust. While professionalism is often defined by behavior that is outwardly visible, professional identity is represented by an internal adoption of the norms of a profession such that one will ‘think, feel, and act’ like a member of a community.”

Source: Welch BE, Arif SA, Bloom TJ, et al. Report of the 2019-2020 AACP Student Affairs Standing Committee. Am J Pharm Ed. 2020;84(10):Article 8198. https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe8198

AACP encourages colleges and schools of pharmacy to advance education that is aimed at the intentional formation of professional identity (i.e. thinking, feeling and acting like a pharmacist) and developed and implemented in cooperation with professional pharmacy organizations within the broader pharmacy profession.

AACP Policy Statement (Source: Student Affairs Committee, 2020)

Literature

Webinars

  • What's the End Goal? Professionalism or Professional Identity? Professional identity formation is a complex and transformational process of internalizing a profession’s core values and beliefs. It requires intentional educational strategies that result in students thinking, acting and feeling like pharmacists upon graduation. The speakers will discuss the differences between professionalism and professional identity formation, and why fostering a strong professional identity should matter to the pharmacy profession, particularly as we transform practice. Participants will learn about supporting the evolution of professional identity formation in health professions education and educational approaches and activities that could be applied to pharmacy education.
  • Finding the Path Forward: Aiding Practice Transformation Through a Focus on PIF This 2020 AACP webinar focuses on the need to shift from a focus of professionalism to that of professional identity formation (PIF) within pharmacy education. During a time of practice transformation, the professional identity of a pharmacist is particularly critical. The session describes the role of pharmacy educators (i.e. faculty and preceptors) in assisting the PIF of future pharmacists transformation.