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Do regulators create or validate professional identity?

We have just published our latest research paper Professional identity and the role of the regulatorThis paper provides an overview of the findings of our literature review and the research we commissioned from Dr Simon Christmas on professional identity and regulation. The overview ties together the two papers, with further desk research, to make the following conclusions:

  • Broadly speaking a regulator has the ability to validate and invalidate identity. Identity is how a practitioner sees themselves, and registration has the capacity to validate and invalidate this self-perception. Regulation does not create identity.
  • Regulatory requirements for initial registration with a register-holder play a role in the development of individual practice and identity.
  • Once a practitioner has qualified, regulation has a minimal direct effect on professional identity except in a crisis or out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.
  • An individual practitioner can validate their professional identity through identity alignment with a wider community of like-minded practitioners via a register.
  • Although not the primary purpose of regulation, some practitioners associated statutory regulation with their status in society.
  • Many factors have a greater or more direct influence on identity than professional regulation, these are usually more local factors such as: rapport with patients and the work environment.

Contact Michael Warren, Policy Adviser, if you would like more details about the Authority's research into professional identity and regulation.