Professional Identity and Participation in Interprofessional Community Collaboration
Collaboration is now frequently required among representatives of myriad disciplines to intervene more effectively in complex community and public health problems. A fundamental tenet of collaboration across professions is that it is facilitated by socialization to one’s own professional identity and to interprofessional collaboration with those in other professions. The purpose of this article is to explore how individuals representing six different professions (informants) understand the relationship between professional identity and interprofessional community collaboration (IPC). It examines whether professional identity changed at all over the course of their careers, and whether those changes affected their perspectives on IPC. Furthermore, this article explores how the informants portray their own profession’s strengths and limitations in collaborating with other professions. Using professional networks, snowball sampling, and the reputational method, a cohort of 50 informants participated in an intensive structured dialogue event that included mono- and multi-professional group exercises. This article analyzes the data from a post-event self-administered survey of those experiences. Open-ended questions were coded using content analysis that utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods. A large majority of the informants (80%) strongly identified with their professions while (20%) indicated a weak identification. At the same time 64% indicated their professional identities had changed in various ways. They described characteristics of their professions that both supported and deterred IPC. In summary, the results of the study suggest professional identity can remain strong even as it becomes more complex, nuanced, or expanded.
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