Who Am I? Exploring Our Professional Identities: A Workshop for Health Care Professionals

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Christine Sanderson
Lisa Marr



1. Explore the history and meaning of each participant’s own professional identity

2. Reflect on how professional identity affects the ability to be present with the patient

3. Create a space to playfully explore benefits and burdens of the professional persona for caregivers and patients

4. Consider possible new ways of being present as professional caregivers which may be safe, authentic, and often joyful.

Background: Health care is highly professionalised. Health professionals are perceived as powerful and prestigious, with great responsibility for patients’ well-being. Social expectations of health professionals are extremely pervasive. Professionalisation involves learning and negotiating one’s role, and becoming comfortable in the professional persona. To offer whole person care requires the professional caregiver to be simply and authentically present with the patient. Yet the professional persona can be a barrier to presence, often using behaviours that are distancing, disease-focused, and impersonal. Over time, working as a professional can deeply affect our experience of ourselves.

Workshop process: This workshop offers an opportunity to explore the effects of professional identities on us as caregivers and as persons.Some topics that will be considered: How do we experience our professional identities?  Benefits and burdens of the roles we have adopted? Do they sustain us or not?  How do they help, and hinder, our ability to be present for patients?  How do we want to proceed in future? Through interactive, creative exercises in a supportive environment, participants will investigate the professional identities they have crafted over time.  Using meditation and writing exercises, participants will reflect on the self that offers whole person care to patients, and what is needed for this self to flourish.  Participants will share insights and challenges to being present, as a professional, with patients.

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How to Cite
Sanderson, C., & Marr, L. (2014). Who Am I? Exploring Our Professional Identities: A Workshop for Health Care Professionals. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.26443/ijwpc.v1i1.29
Congress 2013