Exploring medical students’ professional identity formation through written reflections during the COVID-19 pandemic

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  • Ardi Findyartini
    Medical Education Center, Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI); Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia.
  • Dewi Anggraeni
    Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia.
    https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0626-8492
  • Joseph Mikhael Husin
    Medical Education Center, Indonesia Medical Education & Research Institute (IMERI), Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia.
    https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2859-4587
  • Nadia Greviana
    Medical Education Center, Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI); Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia.
    https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9541-2806

ABSTRACT

Background

Disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced medical schools around the world to adapt. Major changes in curriculum delivery during the pandemic have impacted medical students’ professional development. We assess undergraduate medical students’ adaptations and Professional Identity Formation (PIF) by exploring their written reflections.

Methods

This phenomenology study analyzes undergraduate medical students’ written reflections. We perform a thematic analysis to identify emerging themes.

Results

We purposively selected 80 written reflections, considering the students’ year of study, gender, GPA, and education stage (preclinical or clinical). Three themes emerged: students’ adaptation processes and coping strategies in facing the pandemic; their adaptation processes for learning; and their perceived roles as medical students during the pandemic.

Conclusions

Adaptive coping mechanisms were implemented by medical students in this study. The socialization processes that promote professional identity formation may change due to the tremendous disruption wrought by the pandemic; this has prompted our investigation of students’ roles and various ways of interacting with role models. We highlight the importance of the medical school supporting students’ adaptations and professional identity formation during this pandemic.

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