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Title: *The narrative construction of professional identities : the case of occupational therapy'
Author: Mackey, Hazel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 1760
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2009
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The roles of occupational therapists working in the National Health Service (NHS) are being challenged by new ways of organising and regulating the workforce (Gage 1995). This thesis contributes to a debate on occupational therapy professional identities within a modernising NHS. Theoretically the thesis has been framed within the sociology of the professions and the methodology adopted has been informed by Foucauldian poststructuralisma ndn arrativei nquiry. The research explores the reforms to the NHS as experienced by 14 occupational therapists. The empirical research was conducted over 12 months across 5 NHS organisations in England. Each participant was interviewed three times and was asked to keep a monthly diary of critical incidents. The participants told local stories on the theme of NHS "modernisation" and "working lives", to characterise how the reforms become lived and known in occupational therapy practice and how this impacts on notions of professional identity. A process of narrative analysis was developed to analyse this data. The result is five metaphorical stories; the battle, the love story, the magazine, the journey and the pantomime, which are centred on professionalism and professional identity. Four policy driven ideologies of managerialism, service user choice, inter-professional working and greater regulation of the health professions provide a context for the exploration of the construction of professional identities. It is demonstrated that a profound change is occurring in the NHS which affects professional values, expertise, status and accountability. I identify five professional identity strategies; embracement, game playing, separatism, (re)membering and distancing, which the participants use to adapt to work role transitions. It is argued that professional identity can be conceived as a reflexive ethical concept in that it is through the process of reflecting on the discursive options and values available, that occupational therapists come to understand , explain and define their professional selves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available