Professional identity formation of medical teachers in a non-Western setting

Med Teach. 2021 May 14;1-6. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.1922657. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Understanding and supporting professional identity formation (PIF) among medical teachers has become increasingly important in faculty development programs. In this study, we explored medical teachers' PIF in Indonesia.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study using focus group discussions (FGDs) at four medical schools in Indonesia. Basic science and clinical teachers from four different schools were selected to participate. Data were transcribed, coded, and analysed to develop themes and subthemes.

Results: Seventeen FGDs were completed, involving 60 basic science and 59 clinical teachers. Four major themes regarding the formation of medical teachers' professional identity emerged: an internal dialogue between intrinsic values and external influences, empowerment through early socialization, experiential workplace learning, and envisioning the future. The PIF process was similar for basic science and clinical teachers.

Conclusion: Our findings suggested that PIF among medical teachers in a non-Western setting is a continuous and dynamic process that is shaped by key socialization factors (e.g. role models, workplace learning, peer support), with significant influences from religious beliefs, family values, and societal recognition. Faculty development programs should consider the dynamic and continuous nature of PIF among medical teachers and encourage clinicians and basic scientists to explore their values and beliefs, realize their goals, and envision their future.

Keywords: Staff development; professionalism; roles of teacher.