PROFESSIONAL ENTRY EXPERIENCES OF PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS: A NARRATIVE INQUIRY

Open Access
Author:
Thompson, Patricia Marie
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 14, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Patricia Angelica Cranton, Committee Chair
  • Daniele D Flannery, Committee Member
  • Samuel William Monismith, Committee Member
  • Steven Melnick, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • medical education
  • adult development
  • professional development
  • organizational entry
Abstract:
This qualitative study used narrative inquiry to capture the experiences of nine Primary Care Physicians as they entered professional practice as employees of established organizations. The study, informed by social constructivism and adult development theory, focused on how their professional entry experiences informed their understanding of themselves, their profession, and their practice. Of specific interest was how they grew and developed both personally and professional during this life transition. Narratives were co-constructed by the participants and research. Data were analyzed both as individual narratives and for collective themes. The nine participants offered a range of perspectives on their medical training, their entry into the profession, managing work and family, and their understanding of and beliefs about the profession of medicine. The findings of this study suggest that despite strong professional socialization, beginning primary care physicians construct their medical practices to meet both their professional and personal aspirations. The findings also support the dominantly held belief in medical education that this generation of physicians is seeking balance in their lives. They are not willing to sacrifice their personal life for their profession, but they are still serious professionals. Implications for medical education, adult education and organizational socialization are discussed.