Helping Students Form a Professional Identity of Nursing: A Response by Dr. Patricia Benner

Helping Students Form a Professional Identity of Nursing: A Response by Dr. Patricia Benner

Professional identity formation is emerging as a critical component of profession-specific education. The concept of professional identity in nursing has been scientifically explored and domains, definitions, competencies, exemplars, and key elements have emerged, creating new language –and new knowledge–for the discipline of nursing. Dr. Godfrey will share research findings and evidence-based strategies to help students form a professional identity of nursing.


Patricia Benner

Patricia Benner, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN Dr. Benner is a professor emerita at the University of California School of Nursing. She is a noted nursing educator and author of From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Nursing Practice, which has been translated into twelve languages. She has directed over 50 doctoral dissertations. She pioneered the use of Interpretive Phenomenology in Nursing. She directed the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching National Nursing Education Study, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation which is the first such study in forty years. That work is continued on the Website: EducatingNurses.com. Additionally, she collaborated with the Carnegie Preparation for the Professions studies of clergy, engineering, law, and medicine. Dr. Benner is designated as a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing. She was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and Danish Society for Nurses. Her work has influence beyond nursing in the areas of clinical practice and clinical ethics. She has received two honorary doctorates. She is the first author of Expertise in Nursing Practice: Caring, Ethics and Clinical Judgment (2010) with Christine Tanner and Catherine Chesla, and she has coauthored twelve other notable books including a 2nd (2011) Edition of Clinical Wisdom and Interventions in Acute and Critical Care: .A Thinking-In-Action Approach.

Nelda Godfrey, PhD, ACNS-BC

Nelda Godfrey, PhD, ACNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, is Professor and Associate Dean for Innovative Partnerships and Practice at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. A scholar and author in professional identity formation within the health professions, Dr. Godfrey is co-author of “The Making of Nurse Professionals: A Transformational, Ethical Approach,” a philosophic inquiry of professionalism in nursing. She is also a frequent speaker and author on learning science, design thinking and ethics, and writes and speaks about innovative educational and practice models. Her chapter entitled “Professional Identity” in Gidden’s Concepts of Nursing Practice explains the place of professional identity within the discipline of nursing and its influence on professional identity within the health professions. Dr. Godfrey and the University of Kansas have hosted three 50-person, invitation-only think tanks on Professional Identity in Nursing to discover and solidify new language about the domains, definitions, and key elements of professional identity in nursing along with WHY statement and conceptual model development. Think Tank participants are committed to moving professional identity language and understanding forward within nursing education, regulation and practice. Some of the results of these think tanks will be included in her presentation.