A pathway to professional identity formation: Report of the 2020-2021 AACP student affairs standing committee

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Professional identity formation (PIF) involves internalizing and demonstrating the behavioral norms, standards, and values of a professional community, such that one comes to “think, act and feel” like a member of that community. Professional identity influences how a professional perceives, explains, presents and conducts themselves. This report of the 2020-2021 AACP Student Affairs Standing Committee (SAC) describes the benefits of a strong professional identity, including its importance in advancing practice transformation. Responding to a recommendation from the 2019-2020 SAC, this report presents an illustrative and interpretative schema as an initial step towards describing a pharmacist’s identity. However, the profession must further elucidate a universal and distinctive pharmacist identity, in order to better support pharmacists and learners in explaining and presenting the pharmacist’s scope of practice and opportunities for practice change. Additionally, the report outlines recommendations for integrating intentional professional identity formation within professional curricula at colleges and schools of pharmacy. Although there is no standardized, single way to facilitate PIF in students, the report explores possibilities for meeting the student support and faculty development needs of an emerging new emphasis on PIF within the Academy.

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