Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 521–527 | Cite as

Developing “a Way of Being”: Deliberate Approaches to Professional Identity Formation in Medical Education

  • Latha Chandran
  • Richard J. IuliEmail author
  • Lisa Strano-Paul
  • Stephen G. Post
In Depth Article: Commentary

Professional socialization and the development of reflective capacity are critical elements that shape a medical trainee’s professional identity. A 2010 Carnegie Foundation Report argues that professional identity formation should be an important focus of medical educators and that identity transformation remains the highest purpose of medical education [1]. Education achieves this highest purpose when a person develops new ways of thinking and relating with peers [2]. Ultimately, the professional ideal is to develop physicians who can bring their “whole person to provide whole person care” [3]. An ideal professional identity embraces empathy, mindful attention to patient care, integrity, self-awareness, teamwork, beneficence, respect, and equal regard for all, as well as an eagerness to learn, resilience, and attention to self-care. Professional identity formation has antecedents in the student’s life prior to matriculation into medical school, but it is a lifelong endeavor, achieved...



The authors would like to thank Dr. Constance Baldwin for her thoughtful review of this manuscript.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

No IRB or ethical examination is indicated for this commentary.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityNew YorkUSA

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