ISSUE:Professionalism has increasingly become an essential component of medical education, but teaching the conceptof professionalism alone does not adequately reflectthe complexity of what it means to feel, think and act like a physician.
As a result, the professional identity development formation (PIF) acquiredthroughout medical school is arguably themost critical to the ethical practice of medicine, the proper care of patients,and overall physician well-being. Understanding PIF is essential because how educators structurelearning experiences and foster the development of professionals within undergraduatemedical education affects the progression through which a student transformsinto a physician. EVIDENCE:Professional identify formation has become increasinglyrelevant over the last decade as a concept to recognize and facilitatethe process through which a medical student transforms from laymen to the physician,and as such, an increasing number of educators have emphasized the importanceof strategic efforts to support the PIF process in medical education. Evidencesuggests that medical schools should better address the challenge of preparing studentswith the necessary tools required for a multidimensional approach toprofessional development. IMPLICATIONS: With amedical education environment that is continuouslyshifting, educators are responsible for supporting PIF through progressive practices within formal andinformal curricula. Although a shared emphasis on PIF has gained momentum as afocus in medical education in the US, medical schools are not uniform in their curricularpedagogies or assessment of PIF.
Therefore, it is important to examine how educators nurture and promote professionalbehaviors one would seek in a physician in aneffort to create intentional experiences and interventions that facilitateand measure PIF within unique medical educationprograms.