The influence of postgraduate qualifications on educational identity formation of healthcare professionals

Ahsan Sethi (Lead / Corresponding author), Susie Schofield, John McAleer, Rola Ajjawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
262 Downloads (Pure)


Demand for postgraduate qualifications in medical education can be judged by the increase in providers worldwide over the last two decades. However, research into the impact of such courses on identity formation of healthcare professionals is limited. This study investigates the influence of such programmes on graduates’ educational identities, practices and career progression. Informed by constructivist grounded theory (CGT), semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 graduates (2008–2012) from one postgraduate programme, who were at different stages in their careers worldwide. The audio data were transcribed and analysed using a CGT approach. Participants enrolled in award-bearing medical education courses for various intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. The findings from this study highlight their development as educators, and educational researchers, leaders and learners, as their self-efficacy in educational practices and engagement in scholarly activities increased. Graduates attributed career progression to the qualification, with many being promoted into senior positions. They also described substantial performance attainments in the workplace. The findings contribute to understanding the complexity and nuances of educational identity formation of healthcare professionals. A qualification in medical education encouraged transformational changes and epistemological development as an educator. Awareness of these findings will inform both those considering enrolment and those supporting them of potential benefits of these programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-585
Number of pages19
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number3
Early online date16 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Communities of practice
  • Faculty development
  • Health professions education
  • Healthcare educators
  • Identity
  • Postgraduate qualifications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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