Factors that affect the process of professional identity formation in public health nurses


Objective: The aim of this study was to elucidate the process of professional identity formation and the factors that affect the process in public health nurses (PHNs). Methods: We performed an inductive qualitative analysis based on semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews of 65 PHNs. Results: At years 1 - 5, PHNs did not have a professional self-identity. Therefore, it was important for them to recognize the significance of their own work. At years 6 - 10, PHNs acquired self-assurance as a practitioner through feedback from residents. It was important for them to have a better understanding, broader viewpoints and more affection for their own community. At years 11 - 20, PHNs felt ambivalent toward the challenges and heavy responsibilities based on the objective assessment of their jobs and roles. PHNs felt embarrassed by role changes when they became a manager or an expert. It was important for them to become aware of their new role through managerial education and training. However, some PHNs who were unable to establish a clear PHN identity experienced setbacks at each developmental stage. Conclusions: Our data suggest that a differential approach dependent on the stage and level of confidence in an individual’s PHN identity is required for the formation of PHN identity.

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Okura, M. , Uza, M. , Izumi, H. , Ohno, M. , Arai, H. and Saeki, K. (2013) Factors that affect the process of professional identity formation in public health nurses. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 8-15. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.31002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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