Professional identity in new graduate veterinarians: Developing agency, capability and understandings of professionalism

Emma Scholz, Franziska Trede

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Veterinary graduates are eligible for unrestricted registration and can take immediate responsibility for a clinical caseload. Their first year after graduation has been described as ‘make or break;’ there is an urgent need to better understand the complexity of how new graduates develop as veterinarians through that critical period.

To understand more deeply how professional identity develops in new graduate veterinarians.

An integrated narrative research approach adopted a series of in-depth interviews and workplace observation with eleven new graduate veterinarians.

Graduates developed their professional identity through intertwined processes of coming to their own understanding of veterinary practice and developing their practice capability. Those processes were socialization processes, but richly informed by graduates’ own dispositions and values. Being and becoming a veterinarian meant coming to terms with professionalism as a relational concept, and actively grappling with the challenge of practising authentically. Shaping an emerging sense of oneself as a capable veterinarian who could ‘make the calls’ when needed required ongoing balancing of independence, support and belonging in the process of learning and developing at work.

It is important that curricula for professional education explicitly include development of professional identity. This means creating opportunities for learners to reflect on their own dispositions and values, to receive skilful support in developing critical awareness of the possibilities and limitations of their own agency within their professional setting, and to consider how they will learn and develop beyond the formal educational context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventANZAHPE 2017 Conference : ANZAHPE 2017 - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017 (Conference website)


ConferenceANZAHPE 2017 Conference
Abbreviated titleTransitions
OtherThe Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) is the peak organisation for practitioners involved in the education and training of health professionals in Australia and New Zealand. ANZAHPE (pronounced affectionately as "anza-pee") is comprised of clinicians, academic educators and students, and supports and advances education in the health care professions. ANZAHPE's core objectives are to :promote, support and advance education in the health professionsfacilitate communication between educators in the health professionspromote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education and trainingrecognise, facilitate and disseminate high quality educational research in health professional educationbe the focal point for health professions education in western Pacific region. Previously known as ANZAME (Australian & New Zealand Association of Medical Education), ANZAHPE is now a truly multidisciplinary organisation, encompassing undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education and training. The Association facilitates communication between educators in the health care professions by providing a network and database of expertise, and collaboration and dissemination through its Journal and Bulletin. ANZAHPE promotes educational research and good practice through seeding grants, awards and conference presentations and through its peer-reviewed journal, Focus on Health Professional Education. The Annual Conference offers a forum for sharing of research, experiences and ideas towards the improvement of health professional education. Our network of education researchers contribute to the international evidence base for health professional education. ANZAHPE is managed by an elected Committee of Management.
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