Professional identification in student experience: perspectives from occupational therapy and physiotherapy courses

Meehan, Robbie (2016) Professional identification in student experience: perspectives from occupational therapy and physiotherapy courses. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This research explores the student experience and formation of a professional identity on undergraduate and postgraduate occupational therapy and physiotherapy programmes at Hillside University. In my administrative role, I was aware that the student experience on these programmes did not reflect the typical “college experience” associated with transitions into student and campus life and then towards qualification. These health profession students make simultaneous transitions into higher education, and into a profession through practice placement settings where they learn skills and work alongside health professionals. Thus, they navigate between two worlds of very distinct modes of learning and socialisation, with the shared objective of a professional qualification and career.
Using a phenomenological approach, the study explores those transitions through the subjective eyes of the participants. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews with first and final year students on both UG and PG professional courses over one academic year, offering a longitudinal perspective and revealing students’ personal experiences of the formation of a professional identity through learning and socialisation.
The study reveals how students engage less in traditional student activities due to anticipated periods on placements, and some non-standard start dates, and how students develop a strong focus on their learning and close cohort and peer groups bonds. The research found that as practice placements were experienced, students became more engaged with their future professions in the placement contexts, and also more distant with the university and its conceptualisation of a learner’s identity.
These aspects of student experience could be further explored, with more pre-registration health courses being developed and increasing numbers in the Health Faculty on programmes with placements, it is important for the HEI to recognise this and ensure these student perspectives are considered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Users 4971 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 11:06
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2017 11:06

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