Chang, Yu-Che, Xaviera Xiao, Nothando Nkambule, Roy Y. L. Ngerng, Alison Bullock, & Lynn V. Monrouxe (2020, May). Exploring emergency physicians’ professional identities: A Q-method study. Advances in Health Sciences Education. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1007/s10459-020-09973-y) (Link: (Open Access:

Abstract: Professional identities research in medical education has made significant contributions to the field. However, what comprises professional identities is rarely interrogated. This research tackles this relatively understudied component of professional identities research by understanding emergency medicine physicians’ perspectives on the important elements that comprise their professional identities. Q-methodology was used to identify different clusters of viewpoints on professional identities; by extension, the core components that comprise emergency medicine physicians’ professional identities are disclosed. Thirty-three emergency medicine physicians were recruited, through purposive sampling, from five hospitals across Taiwan. R software was used to analyse the Q-sorts, determine loadings on each viewpoint and formulate the viewpoint array. Analysis of interview data enhanced our understanding of these viewpoints. In total, twenty-five emergency medicine physicians loaded onto four distinct viewpoints, reflecting dominant perspectives of emergency medicine physicians’ understanding of their professional identities. These distinct viewpoints demonstrated what emergency medicine physicians deemed significant in how they understood themselves. The viewpoints comprised: skills acquisition, capabilities and practical wisdom; coping ability and resilience; professional recognition and self-esteem; and wellbeing and quality of life. All viewpoints stressed the importance of trust between colleagues. These findings demonstrate the multitude of ways in which seemingly unified professional identities diverge across groups of individuals. An enhanced understanding of speciality work culture is gained. By understanding facets of professional identities, the development of future educational interventions and departmental initiatives, which might support key components of professional identities, can be explored.

Lynn V Monrouxe <> is on the Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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