Professional identity formation within Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships: a scoping review protocol

Syst Rev. 2020 Jul 24;9(1):166. doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01422-6.


Background: Professional identity development is an area of contemporary interest within medical education. It can be defined as 'the foundational process one experiences during the transformation from lay person to physician'. In order for this transformation to occur, medical values and principles are internalised. A robust professional identity is key to confident practice as a medical professional. As such, research regarding what works to encourage identity development is popular. New models of educational delivery, such as the increasingly popular Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship model (LICs), present an interesting opportunity to investigate impact on identity. As no previous literature reviews focus on identity development within LICs, it is unclear what is already known about their impact. Therefore, a scoping review synthesising current knowledge and mapping areas for future research is necessary.

Methods: Arksey and O'Malley's scoping review steps will be used as a methodological framework. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Web of Knowledge, ERIC, PsychINFO, Google Scholar, JSTOR, Scopus, and Web of science will be searched (from inception onwards). We will include single studies of any design (e.g. quantitative and qualitative) and reviews examining professional identity within Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships involving health profession students. Two reviewers will complete all screening and data abstraction independently. Deductive coding will be presented as a quantitative textual meta-analysis. Inductive coding will be presented in narrative format.

Discussion: This scoping review will explore professional identity formation within LICs, evaluating any known impact of the educational model and mapping the ways in which identity within LICs has been researched. Mapping of current knowledge should highlight whether LICs as an educational model can influence professional identity development and outline gaps in what is known about their impact to date. Theory used in LIC-based identity research will also be mapped, in order to summarise the main theoretical orientations of research to date. It is anticipated that through such evidence synthesis, directions for future research will become clear.

Systematic review registration: Open Science Framework:

Keywords: Identity; Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship; Medical student; Professional identity; Scoping review.