Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Veterinary Identity: A Time and Context Model

Armitage-Chan, E; May, S A


E Armitage-Chan

S A May


The nature of professionalism teaching is a current issue in veterinary education, with an individual’s identity as a professional having implications for one’s values and behaviors, as well as for his or her career satisfaction and psychological well-being. An appropriately formed professional identity imparts competence in making complex decisions—those that involve multiple perspectives and are complicated by contextual challenges. It enables an individual to act in a way that aligns with his or her professional values and priorities, and imparts resilience to situations in which one’s actions are dissonant to these personal beliefs. There are challenges in professionalism teaching that relate to student engagement and faculty confidence in this area. However, these cannot be addressed without first defining the veterinary professional identity—in effect, the aim of professionalism teaching. In this article, existing identity models from the wider literature have been analyzed through a veterinary lens. This analysis was then used to construct a model of veterinary professional identity that incorporates the self (personal morals and values), social development (learning from the workplace environment), and professional behaviors. Individuals who form what we have termed self–environment–behavior connections are proposed to be able to use workplace learning opportunities to inform their identity development, such that environmental complexity does not obstruct the link between values and behaviors. Those who fail to connect with the environment in this way may perceive that environmental influences (e.g., the client, financial limitations) are obstructive to enacting their desired identity, and they may struggle with decision making in complex scenarios.


Armitage-Chan, E., & May, S. A. (2018). The Veterinary Identity: A Time and Context Model. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 46(2), 153-162.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2018
Publication Date Dec 19, 2018
Deposit Date May 9, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 20, 2019
Print ISSN 0748-321X
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 2
Pages 153-162
Keywords professionalism, identity, well-being, resilience
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations