Shaping (reflexive) professional identities across an undergraduate degree programme: a longitudinal case study

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15 Citations (Scopus)


In our complex and incongruous professional worlds, where there is no blueprint for dealing with unpredictable people and events, it is imperative that individuals develop reflexive approaches to professional identity building. Notwithstanding the importance of disciplinary knowledge and skills, higher education has a crucial role to play in guiding students to examine and mediate self in relation to context for effective decision-making and action. This paper reports on a small-scale longitudinal project that investigated the ways in which 10 undergraduate students over the course of a three-year Radiation Therapy degree shaped their professional identities. Theories of reflexivity and methods of discourse analysis are utilised to understand the ways in which individuals accounted for their professional identity projects at university. The findings suggest that, across time, the participants negotiated professional ‘becoming’ through four distinct kinds of reflexive modalities. These findings have implications for teaching strategies and curriculum design in undergraduate programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-165
Number of pages15
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Professional identities
  • radiation therapy
  • reflection in undergraduate programmes
  • reflexive practice
  • reflexivity


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