Professional Identity of Pakistani Veterinary Students: Conceptualization and Negotiation

Hafsa Zaneb, Elizabeth Armitage-Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Most work on the professional identity of veterinary and medical professionals has been conceptualized in the US and Europe. It reports professional identity formation to be highly individualized, triggered by experiences of identity distress, and identity negotiation strategies to be generally focused around personal reflection. However, within Asia, important sociocultural differences exist that might influence professional identity and its development. Societal values may take precedence over individual ones, and some cultures consider the veterinary profession as stigmatized. With this background, we seek to understand professional identity and its construction in Pakistani veterinary students. We selected five students through purposive sampling and invited them for narrative interviews. Social identity theory and Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs predominantly contributed to the theoretical framework, which together with principles of social phenomenology and narrative analysis informed qualitative analysis of the transcribed interviews using an in-depth approach. We found that students’ professional identity was predominantly socially constructed, though their sense of their identity was not very well developed. Role models, social stigma, professional socialization in clinical settings, gender, and to some extent, cultural interpretations of religious messages seemed to mediate professional identity development. Students responded differently to their understanding of professional stigma, making sense of stigma through strategies such as denial or internalization. Since Pakistani veterinary students experience social and personal values differently compared with those from predominantly individualistic cultures, identity formation through reflecting on personal values may be less effective than strategies that emphasize social learning and beliefs. </jats:p>
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023

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