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Developing professional identity: The lived experience of speech and language therapy students becoming speech and language therapists

Eade, Teresa K (2020) Developing professional identity: The lived experience of speech and language therapy students becoming speech and language therapists. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Professional identity development is important to taking on a professional role. While knowledge and skills of speech and language therapy students is monitored throughout their studies, little is known about their professional identity development. This phenomenological research aims to further understand the lived experience of the development of professional identity, including triggers which may enable, or make difficult, the identity change from new student to new graduate. Eight students from the one cohort of the Master’s in speech and language therapy at the University of Essex took part in semi structured interviews and offered their reflective writing for analysis. Interviews and reflective writing took place throughout the two years of the master’s degree. Following thematic analysis a model of the development of professional identity emerged, which has six stages. Forward moving stages of beginning, awakening, adjusting, and becoming are significantly influenced by stages of loss and doubt. Stages overlap, and while direction of development is generally positive, participants were seen to express aspects of several stages at the same time. The central role of doubt became apparent as it intersects with the three forward moving stages of awakening, adjusting and becoming. While doubt was uncomfortable for all participants, they often became creative through reflection and grew towards positive professional identity; others needed significant support to manage their doubt. The findings are further understood through discussion of theories of transformation, namely Mezirow’s (1978 onwards) model of transformative education and Van Gannep’s (1960 [1908]) rites of passage. Dramaturgy (Goffman 1959) and attachment theory (Bowlby 1969) are used to explore reasons behind some of the observations of the participants regarding their journey. Recommendations include the inclusion of professional identity development in pre-registration speech and language therapy curricula. This should include greater understanding and exploration of the significance of doubt by tutors, practice educators and students to develop joint practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Additional Information: This doctoral thesis was submitted for the award of a post-humous degree, following the death of the doctoral candidate ahead of the formal submission of the thesis for examination. Following successful examination, Dr Eade was awarded the doctorate on the basis of the work and research undertaken during her registration for the Professional Doctorate in Health Care Education. Please note that the thesis may reflect the fact that any post-award editing is not possible in the case of post-obitum awards.
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2021 12:06
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2021 12:06
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29951

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