The Case of Anita Rao: Defining a Career and a Self

  • Bernadine H. HanEmail author


The journey of medical education and training involves multiple career-defining decisions. The inflexible and rigorous schedule of this journey and diversity of choices create a series of pressured decisions that must often be made with limited time and information. These decisions are often career-defining, meaning they lead to a specific path from which it becomes difficult to impossible to continue the pursuit of other interests both in medicine and in one’s personal life. As such, these decisions can feel weighty and monumental, affecting and affected by the development of professional identity in the trainee. Professional identity formation is a fraught process that necessitates the integration of a fully formed adult self with the trainee’s new identity as a physician. This case examines some aspects of the stresses that career-defining decisions can place on a trainee’s developing sense of her professional self and values.


Professional identity formation Separation-individuation Career-defining choices Adjustment disorder Supportive psychotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York University School of Medicine/Bellevue Hospital CenterNew YorkUSA

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