Professional Identity in Interprofessional Education: Midwifery Narratives

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Brown, Elvira (2019) Professional Identity in Interprofessional Education: Midwifery Narratives. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Interprofessional education (IPE) has been found to improve patient outcomes and increase health practitioner career satisfaction according to The World Health Organization (2010). Despite these identified benefits arising from over thirty years of IPE research in a global context, there is still surprisingly little evidence with regard to how midwives develop their professional identity within the context of IPE. This study examined the interprofessional aspects of professional identity development for students and qualified clinicians in midwifery, including midwifery clinical educators and midwifery academics. This study utilised the theoretical framework of social constructionism. There were fifteen participants involved from three Australian universities, one hospital and one community setting. Using narrative inquiry as the methodology, stories were collected using in-depth interviews and a narrative approach. The individual stories were examined for revelations into the meanings drawn by each participant using a thematic analysis approach. Five themes emerged from the data. These were: shared misconceptions; shared understandings; shared misdirections; shared professional values; and shared misgivings. Then each story was examined for commonalities and differences of meaning drawn across all of the participants, congruent with Clandinin and Connelly’s (2000) narrative inquiry space (NIS) analytical approach of relational, temporal and spatial. From this interpretive analysis, a further lens was developed to more adequately present the interpretation of the participants’ narratives which could not be accommodated with the NIS. This resulted in the fourth element of ‘fluidity’ comprised of the influencers of ‘empowerment’, ‘competence’, ‘value’, and ‘respect.’ It is through the element of fluidity that the nascent nature of professional identity of the midwife in interprofessional education has been explored and presented. Thus, a theoretical understanding of the intersection between IPE and professional identity development in midwifery has been illuminated as a way to potentially enhance the efficacy of interprofessional practice, education and research. Moreover, the focus on student and registered midwives, both in the education sector and in the clinical environment is critical because, as the midwifery workforce, they are charged with the ongoing development of midwifery as a profession promoting improved patient outcomes, their own professional identity and interprofessional practice.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1110 Nursing
Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords midwifery; midwives; education; Australia; identity; narratives; narrative inquiry; reflective journaling
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