Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine what processes facilitate, temper, or impede occupational therapy identity development in a community of practice. Methods: A multiple case design organized data collected from five in-depth interviews with occupational therapy students on level II fieldwork. A cross-case analysis was used to arrive at multiple case themes. Results: Themes emerged as responses to participation in a community of practice: a) professional relationships; b) supervision types; and c) responsibility for professional identity development. Results suggest that communities of practice have unique characteristics that either inhibit students from adopting professional identity or draw them closer to the center of the profession. Conclusions: Responsibility for professional identity development lies with both student and community of practice. These findings suggest attention must be paid to the quality of the community of practice if students are to experience a successful trajectory into the profession of occupational therapy.
Davis J. The Importance of the Community of Practice in Identity Development. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2006 Jul 01;4(3), Article 5.