Students as evolving professionals – students perceptions of the evolving professional (EP) concept as a professional socialization approach

Tsang, Annetta (2010). Students as evolving professionals – students perceptions of the evolving professional (EP) concept as a professional socialization approach. In: AARE 2009 Conference Proceedings. AARE International Education Research Conference, Canberra, (1-13). 29 November - 3 December 2009.

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Author Tsang, Annetta
Title of paper Students as evolving professionals – students perceptions of the evolving professional (EP) concept as a professional socialization approach
Conference name AARE International Education Research Conference
Conference location Canberra
Conference dates 29 November - 3 December 2009
Proceedings title AARE 2009 Conference Proceedings
Place of Publication Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Publisher Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISBN 1324-9320
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The Evolving Professional (EP) concept recognizes students as evolving oral health and dental professionals with specific professional attributes that must be developed and internalized in order to enhance students' potential for success upon graduation. It focuses and adds significance, coherence and clarity to students' professional socialization in dentistry and oral health. Professional socialization involves the acquisition of professional attributes and the development of a specific professional identity that defines self and aligns with community expectations. The primary tenets of the EP concept are:1) early professional socialization empowers students by providing a context and reasons for deep learning and motivating them to strive for excellence; 2) a clearly defined professional identity is recognized as a significant determining factor in relations to work-readiness, recruitment, retention, job satisfaction and work-related motivation and 3) "the way of being" a professional cannot be assumed as a "natural by-product" of tertiary education but must be explicitly developed and practiced.

The aims of this study are to examine students' perceptions of the EP concept as a professional socialization approach, compare the perceptions of first year dentistry students vs. first year oral health students and compare the perceptions of the first, second and third year students.

Students were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire during class time in Week 2, Week 5 Week 9 and Week 12 of the semester. The questionnaire contained both open-ended and categorical questions. Analyses were performed quantitatively using descriptive statistics (Microsoft EXCEL 2007 & GraphPad InStat v. 3) and qualitatively using computer-assisted content analysis (Leximancer v.3.07).

A total of 145 students participated in this study. Results indicate that students support the EP concept as an effective professional socialization approach. Over 85% of students across all three years and two programs stated in the Week 5 and Week 12 questionnaires that being treated as EPs is important, engages and motivates students to learn and imparts confidence. Students were also convinced that the effectiveness of the EP concept relied not only in students' self-perceptions but also from staff, who must believe and treat students as evolving professions. Comparison between dentistry students vs. oral health students did not yield any significant differences. Comparison between first year, second year and third year Oral Health students indicated that whilst the third year did support the EP concept, they felt that it was less relevant to them because they have already developed professional confidence, collaborative team skills and effective communication skills but they enjoyed the leadership development opportunities and being peer mentors. In conclusion, dentistry and oral health students perceived that the EP concept is beneficial and important for professional socialization and the development of a positive professional self-identity.
Subjects 13 Education
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Graduate Certificate in Higher Education
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Created: Thu, 24 Feb 2011, 10:31:12 EST by Andrew Heath on behalf of The University of Queensland Library