Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Professional Identity Formation in an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience Emphasizing Self-Authorship

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Professional Identity Formation in an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience Emphasizing Self-Authorship

Article excerpt


Accreditation standards for the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) curricula place heavy emphasis on professionalism development, but there is little in academic literature describing pedagogical methods for promoting professional identity formation (PIF) in pharmacy students. (1) Professional identity formation has been described as "the transformative process of identifying and internalizing the ways of being and relating within a professional role" by adopting characteristics of a professional, such as altruism, respect for others, honesty and integrity, and commitment to self-improvement. (1-5) One approach to PIF is Baxter-Magolda's theory of self-authorship. Self-authorship theory describes combined cognitive and affective development and offers the Learning Partnerships Model as a pedagogical approach to promoting combined personal development.

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which reflective narrative essays written by graduating pharmacy students revealed PIF and self-authorship development, and how use of Baxter-Magolda's framework for self-authorship might contribute to PIF as observed in these essays. If self-authorship theory can be applied to professional identity formation in pharmacy students, then Baxter-Magolda's pedagogical Learning Partnerships Model can then be used by faculty members to design learning experiences that facilitate PIF.

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) consider the development of professional attitudes and values in pharmacy students a priority for colleges and schools of pharmacy. (2,3) Professionalism is considered vital to the profession of pharmacy because of its connections to maintaining competency in pharmacy practice through lifelong learning, the development of trusting relationships with patients and the collaborative health care team, advocacy for the advancement of the profession, and the public's image of the profession.

The 2011 Report of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Professionalism Task Force states that the responsibility for the development of professional attitudes and behaviors ultimately lies with pharmacy students. (4) The Pledge of Professionalism adopted by the American Pharmaceutical Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy and the AACP Council of Deans T ask Force on Professionalism describes the need for students to voluntarily and consciously dedicate themselves to the development of a "professional identity." (5)

However, because pharmacy student professionalism is influenced by pharmacy faculty members, educators in colleges and schools of pharmacy are encouraged to develop assignments and experiences that promote PIF in pharmacy students. (5) Numerous publications have attempted to define professional characteristics, describe the role of pharmacy educators in the development of pharmacy student professionalism, promote an increasing focus on professionalism in the pharmacy curriculum, and offer tools for developing and assessing student professionalism. (6-14) There is little consensus in the pharmacy literature on exactly how pharmacy faculty members should best support students' PIF, which underscores the importance of this study.

One of ACPE's many goals for pharmacy graduates is the development of the student as a professional and self-directed, lifelong learner. (2) The development of these and other necessary professional characteristics is analogous to Marcia Baxter-Magolda's theory of self-authorship transition. (15) Self-authorship describes an individual's development of combined cognitive and affective maturity, defined as "the ability to collect, interpret, and analyze information and reflect on one's own beliefs in order to form judgments." (16) Baxter-Magolda's developmental theory of self-authorship describes the process a student undergoes during each of four transitional phases moving from reliance on authority figures to define herself to reliance on self-definition and self-influence (Figure 1). …

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