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ERIC Number: ED556084
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 241
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-4460-6
An Exploration of Emerging Professional Identity in Women Osteopathic Medical Students: Does Gender Matter?
Dunatov, Linda J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
The purpose of this narrative inquiry study was to gain a richer understanding from the perspective of gender about how third and fourth year women osteopathic medical students at the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) constructed their developing professional identities as future osteopathic physicians. This study sought to address the gap in the relevant literature regarding the influence of gender on the development of medical students' professional identities as physicians and to offer a medical student perspective on how they were constructing their developing professional identities as future physicians. Participants, through their own words, revealed that gender, particularly gendered personal identities and gender dynamics, significantly influenced the construction of participant professional identities as future physicians. The personal narratives written by these women evidenced common themes concerning their efforts to blend their personal identities as women with their emerging professional identities as osteopathic physicians. As the study findings indicated, these women students relied heavily on their clinical faculty as role models, mentors, and guides; they negotiated the intersection of their personal and professional identities; they selected residency specialties that they felt would accommodate a blend of their personal and professional identities; they believed that if they were male they would not have the same worries about when to have children; and they coped with experiences of gender dynamics that included gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and being subjected to gender stereotypes by others. A key aspect of this study is that it offered a glimpse into how study participants formed their emerging professional physician identities. Participants' narratives shared that when these young women entered medical school, they did not anticipate the difficult real life decisions that they would face as women medical students. In their accounts, study participants linked their gendered identities as women with the professional identities they were actively shaping as future osteopathic physicians. For participants, the influence of gender was most profound in their selection of future residency specialties as residency choice generally identifies a physician's future career specialty, which is an important dimension of a physician's professional identity. Further, participants believed that if they were male, they would not be faced with the same type of concerns or decisions. Viewed from the critical theoretical stance of poststructuralist feminism, participant narratives disrupted the traditional understanding that the professional identity of a physician is genderless. In contrast, this study found that participants' gendered personal identities strongly influenced what they felt they could or could not do with regard to their future medical careers and developing professional identities. The relevance of this study's findings is that the guise of a genderless medical education program is unmasked to reveal that the professional identity of physicians is not neutral or genderless. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky