Indicators, influences, and changes in professional identity formation in early experiential learning in community pharmacy

Natalie Kennie-Kaulbach, Hannah Gormley, Harriet Davies, Anne Marie Whelan, Heidi Framp, Sheri Price, Kristin K. Janke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Experiential education is a key area in the pharmacy curriculum that professional identity formation (PIF) occurs. However, little is known about PIF influences and supports for pharmacy students during early experiential placements. The study aimed to explore pharmacy student PIF in an early experiential rotation in community pharmacy using reflective writing. Educational activity and setting: First-year pharmacy students completed written reflections describing their professional identity and influencing experiences, before and after a four-week community introductory pharmacy practice experience. Qualitative content analysis of the written reflections was performed using three analytical approaches: (1) deductive coding based on professional identity indicators; (2) inductive coding to identify influences; and (3) inductive coding of field notes to identify changes between pre- and post-written reflections. Findings: Twelve students participated. All participants described discrete professional attributes and behaviors and valuing a patient-centered approach as part of their professional identity. Participants reported observation of pharmacists, the curriculum, and previous work experience influenced PIF prior to the experiential rotation. A strong influencer of PIF during the rotation was observation of pharmacist preceptors, whereas participants' own experiences were described less often. Changes in professional identity among participants were subtle and categorized as affirmation, acquisition, and growth. Pharmacy students' markers and influencers of PIF should be considered when developing curricular experiences and preceptor development that support PIF. The use of professional identity indicators and analysis of written reflections as a method to uncover PIF, shows promise and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant from the Center for Learning and Teaching Dalhousie University . Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Community pharmacy
  • Experiential education
  • Indicators
  • IPPE
  • Pharmacy student
  • Professional identity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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