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

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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, University of Toronto, was used. Thirteen students participated in semistructured interviews. Poststructural 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 Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy curriculum prioritized the health care provider identity, which influenced the students desire to "become" clinicians. Based on their internalized health care 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 health care 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
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number3
Early online date21 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • professional identity
  • professional socialization
  • pharmacy education


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