Aug. 30, 2022

FIVM Seminar Series presents: Professional Identity

What part does it play in veterinary retention and career satisfaction?

The concept of professional identity in medical and health science education has been one of evolution that started with a move to teach students “professionalism” and incorporated a greater focus on professional skills such as communication and teamwork. Reorienting non-clinical skills teaching around professional identity formation offers the potential to prepare students for the wider complexities of veterinary work, as well as having implications for resilience and emotional management of difficult situations.

On Friday, September 16, Dr. Liz Armitage-Chan will present research demonstrating the different ways graduate veterinarians define their professional identity: their understanding of what being a veterinarian means, and what they perceive they must do to feel that they are doing a good job. She will then explore the role of education and the university experience in informing this identity. Lastly, Dr. Armitage-Chan will present implications describing how educators can support students in forming a professional identity that facilitates wellbeing and sustainability in their chosen career.

Dr. Liz Armitage-Chan

Dr. Liz Armitage-Chan

Dr. Liz Armitage-Chan works at the Royal Veterinary College in London, where she is currently Acting Director of the LIVE Education Centre and Professor of Higher Education. After graduating from Cambridge Veterinary School, she did her internship and residency in anaesthesiology at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, before returning to the UK to work as an anaesthesiologist. In 2013 she joined the LIVE Centre, and in 2018 completed a PhD in Higher Education Research at King’s College London, focusing on the professional identity development of new graduate veterinary surgeons. This work highlighted the link between professional identity and wellbeing in this population, and during her 5 years as subject lead for Professional Studies in the RVC veterinary degree, underpinned curriculum changes, notably in approaches to assessment.

Dr. Armitage-Chan’s current teaching focus is on faculty and educator development, and she is the Course Director for the RVC’s MSc, Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education, in which she leads modules in professional identity as well as workplace learning and clinical reasoning. She has various national and international committee roles that relate to her expertise in professional identity and qualitative research methods, and she is particularly interested in the relationships between critical thinking, reflection and identity formation.