n New Voices in Psychology - Critical reflections on professional behaviour and understanding ‘professionalism’ in a healthcare career

Volume 12 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1812-6731



This study contextualises the meaning and definition of professionalism. It investigates the held perspective of what elements or components create a foundation of a professional. The aim was to explore the need of understanding professionalism as a term and practice at university. Furthermore, the aim was to engage students in a critical reflexive process in order to gain deeper understanding of the discourses that have influence in their lives, and how it impacts both their personal and professional lives. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory were used to substantiate the argument of the study topic. This paper is an integration of two research studies that examine professionalism. Firstly, a systematic literature search was conducted and narrative synthesis approach was used to analyse homogenous studies that investigated professionalism in the healthcare sector. Secondly, a masters’ cohort engaged in a process of sharing life stories to examine the influence of dominant social discourses (race; gender; and class) and how it has given meaning to how they view the world and gives meaning to the things around them. The purpose was to develop critical reflexivity for the students in an educational setting. The outcomes from both research studies suggest that professionalism is a term that is complex to define; while, also promoting the importance of engaging in life story work that necessitates introspection and coming to understand who we are and what world we live in by acquiring the skill to be critically reflexive.

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