PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE STUDENTS: THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN SKILLS, ATTRIBUTES AND SELF-ESTEEM

Emma Richards, Kay Colthorpe, Louise Ainscough, Judit Kibedi

Abstract


BACKGROUND
The development of professional skills and attributes allows students to build self-esteem, identify with others and view themselves within a profession (Hunter et al., 2007). However, this can be challenging for those within generalist degrees with a diversity of graduate destinations, such as biomedical science (Panaretos et al., 2019). When students in specialised degrees learn skills and attributes that aren’t applicable to their desired career, a disconnect occurs, which impacts professional identity development (Noble et al., 2014). This study examined the relationships between skills, attributes and self-esteem among biomedical science students and how this impacts on professional identity.

METHODS
Second year biomedical science students (n=582) were asked to describe their desired profession, skills and attributes they possessed and needed to develop, and their self-esteem. Consenting students’ responses were subjected to inductive thematic analyses (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

RESULTS & DISCUSSION
Students described a variety of desired professions, with medicine being the most common. Students also described many skills and attributes that were needed for those professions. There was a correlation between awareness of skills and attributes and self-esteem, reflecting students’ developing strong professional identity. This suggests students with greater awareness are more likely be confident in their chosen career.

REFERENCES
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2), 77-101.
Hunter, A. B., Laursen, S. L., & Seymour, E. (2007). Becoming a scientist: The role of undergraduate research in students' cognitive, personal, and professional development. Science education, 91(1), 36-74.
Noble, C., O’Brien, M., Coombes, I., Shaw, P. N., Nissen, L., & Clavarino, A. (2014). Becoming a pharmacist: students’ perceptions of their curricular experience and professional identity formation. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 6(3), 327-339.
Panaretos, C., Colthorpe, K., Kibedi, J. and Ainscough, L., (2019). Biomedical science students’ intended graduate destinations. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 27(9); 1-16.

Keywords


skills and attributes, self-esteem, professional identity, biomedical science

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