Exploring First Grade Medical Students’ Professional Identity Using Metaphors: Implications For Medical Curricula
Senol, Yesim Y.
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Background Although professional identity development is an important concept in medical education, the process has not been well-investigated from a student perspective. Purpose This study examines the metaphorical images formulated by first grade medical students in Turkey to describe physicians in the context of establishing a professional identity, along with its limitations. Method Participants (N=148) completed the prompt: A physician is like _____ because _____ to indicate their conceptualizations of physician. The data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Results Altogether, 71 well-articulated metaphorical images were identified – comprising six conceptual themes. Conclusions While subject to some limitations, the use of metaphors to formulate and describe professional identities can be helpful in reflecting the personal beliefs and values of matriculants to medical school, as well as providing some guidance and feedback to curriculum development efforts.