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Becoming doctors : the formation of professional identity in newly qualified doctors

Gill, Deborah; (2013) Becoming doctors : the formation of professional identity in newly qualified doctors. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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This enquiry concerns the professional identities of newly qualified doctors, exploring how early years practitioners form their sense of self-as-doctor and the structural, educational, social and personal influences on this formation. With identity formation and professional development framed as situated, socio-cultural and developed within and through practice as an iterative process of becoming, this qualitative study, conducted in the interpretivist tradition, uses life-history interviews and brief periods of observation with recently qualified doctors. It reveals that new doctors begin to establish their professional identities through the interlinked processes of learning, belonging and becoming. Developing professional competencies, learning 'medicine' and a re-contextualisation of existing knowledge allows them to 'figure' who they are and what is expected of them. Belonging, although always partial, affects not only what can be made of experiences but also what can be carried forward. Becoming orientated to being a 'good doctor' has both outward-facing and personal aspects and is stimulated by responsibility, influenced by the personal history and planned trajectory of the doctor and the affordances of workplaces and delayed by the fragmented nature of the early years of work. Much of this learning, attempting to belong and to become a good doctor is not directed at their eventual doctor role but at the here and now. This work provides telling insights into the socio-cultural dimension of becoming a doctor and the potential effects of recent workplace and education reform on identity, professional formation and ultimately, practice. It provides ways of theorising how medical professional identities develop, questioning notions of a simple novice to expert trajectory and suggesting novice doctors maintain a legitimately peripheral period of participation in their communities during the early years of work. Both pedagogical approaches in medical education and the conceptualisation of the medical workplace as a site of learning and formation would benefit from review in light of these findings.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Becoming doctors : the formation of professional identity in newly qualified doctors
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos...
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (EdD) University of London Institute of Education, 2013.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020735
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