Professionalism has increasingly become an essential component of medical education, but teaching the concept
of professionalism alone does not adequately reflect
the complexity of what it means to feel, think and act like a physician.
As a result, the professional identity development formation (PIF) acquired
throughout medical school is arguably the
most critical to the ethical practice of medicine, the proper care of patients,
and overall physician well-being. Understanding PIF is essential because how educators structure
learning experiences and foster the development of professionals within undergraduate
medical education affects the development through which a student transforms
into a physician.


Professional identify formation has become increasingly
relevant over the last decade as a concept to recognize and facilitate
the process through which a medical student transforms from laymen to the physician,
and as such, an increasing number of educators have emphasized the importance
of strategic efforts to support the PIF process in medical education. Evidence
suggests that medical schools should better address the challenge of preparing students
with the necessary tools required for a multidimensional approach to
professional development.


medical education environment that is continuously
shifting, educators are responsible for supporting PIF through progressive practices within formal and
informal curricula. Although a shared emphasis on PIF has gained momentum as a
focus in medical education in the US, medical schools are not uniform in their curricular
pedagogies or assessment of PIF. Therefore, it is important to explore the many ways educators encourage and promote
professional behaviors one would seek in a physician in an effort to create intentional experiences and interventions that
facilitate and measure PIF within unique medical
education programs.

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