Factors Influencing Professional Identity Construction in Fourth Year Pharmacy Students

Jamie Kellar*, Maria Athina Martimianakis, Cees P M van der Vleuten, Mirjam G A Oude Egbrink, Zubin Austin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To explore the key factors that influence professional identity construction in fourth year pharmacy students enrolled in a doctor of pharmacy program.Methods: A single site instrumental case study of current fourth year pharmacy students from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (LDFP), University of Toronto, was used. Thirteen students participated in semi-structured interviews. Post-structural social identity theories were used to analyze the data and identify themes that influence identity construction in pharmacy students.Results: Data analysis identified five overarching themes that influence pharmacy student professional identity construction: path to pharmacy, curriculum, environment, preceptors, and patient interactions. The LDFP pharmacy curriculum prioritized the healthcare provider identity, which influenced the students desire to 'become' clinicians. Based on their internalized healthcare provider identity they rejected preceptors and practice environments that negatively impacted their ability to embody this identity.Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that pharmacy students align themselves strongly with healthcare provider identities at the cost of other potentially relevant identities. Pharmacy education programs may benefit from curricular reforms that incorporate and legitimize multiple pharmacist identities to ensure a strong pharmacy workforce for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9110
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Oct 2022

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