The evolution and measurement of professional identity
Jebril, Mohammad Yasser
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Professional identity (PI) as a concept has many meanings and connotations; no single variable, study or research addresses the evolution and measurement of PI in a comprehensive way secondary to the broadness, mobility, complexity and the abstract nature of PI. In addition, PI is associated with psychosocial variables that vary according to contextual factors, which makes it hard to measure PI. Furthermore, several professionals continue to have PI related issues. Therefore, this researcher designed three consecutive studies to identify a theoretical foundation for the PI evolution and construction, as well as to identify professional perspectives on PI, and finally, to develop an instrument to measure individuals professional identity. The first study was a multidisciplinary literature review related to PI development and construction. The findings of this study revealed seven general themes identifying the characteristics of the PI formation, and many internal and external factors related to the PI construction. Analysis of the data obtained suggests that PI development is a developmental phenomenon during which the construction of PI passes through several stages (preoccupation, learning, professional, and retirement stage) and that three basic paradigms constitute PI. The second study used a phenomenological approach to explore professional perspectives on PI. The participants were selected from nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy practitioners. The findings supported the first study findings in terms of the internal and external factors, the developmental nature of PI and the PI developmental stages. In addition, the analysis revealed that PI tends to develop as a general scheme. The third study utilized the previous findings (as a framework) in the construction of a rudimentary prototype of the "Professional Identity Assessment and Measurement Tools" (PIAMT). This initial PIAMT targeted the professional stage because the information available for this researcher mainly addresses the PI development in the professional stage. The implications of this study include opening several areas for researchers and scholars to investigate and explore. This dissertation also added a developmental perspective in studying and approaching PI evolution and construction, which can be applied to assessment tools, evaluation, policymaking, education, treatment and others.