Becoming a pharmacist : students' perceptions of their curricular experience and professional identity formation

Noble, Christy, O'Brien, Mia, Coombes, Ian, Shaw, Paul N., Nissen, Lisa, & Clavarino, Alexandra (2014) Becoming a pharmacist : students' perceptions of their curricular experience and professional identity formation. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 6(3), pp. 327-339.

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Student professional identity formation is important for enabling the successful transition between academic education and professional practice. Recognition of this has resulted in significant changes in professional education (e.g., the inclusion of experiential placements and authentic learning experiences). There is limited research that examines how the curricular experience influences pharmacy studentsʼ professional identity formation.


Using focus groups, comprising 82 students from all levels of a four-year Australian undergraduate pharmacy course, this study examined studentsʼ perceptions of their overall curricular experience and examined how these experiences influenced the construction of their professional identities.


Our analysis found that the pharmacy students struggled with their professional identity formation. Many were entering the degree with little understanding of what being a pharmacist entailed. Once in the educational context, the nature of the role became both apparent and idealistic but not enacted. Students experienced dissonance between the idealistic notion of pharmacy practice and the realities of placements, and this may have been enhanced by a lack of patient-centered care role models. This struggle left them concluding that the role of the pharmacist was constrained and limited.


We argue that professional identity formation needs to be in the foreground from commencement of the degree and throughout the curriculum.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 77706
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Curriculum; Professional identity formation; Pharmacists; Undergraduate pharmacy education, HERN
DOI: 10.1016/j.cptl.2014.02.010
ISSN: 1877-1297
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES (111500) > Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (111502)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Crown copyright © 2014
Deposited On: 16 Oct 2014 01:49
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2014 21:46

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