Contemporary factors shaping the professional identity of occupational therapy lecturers

John O'Shea, Simon McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


The contemporary factors of neoliberalism and evidence-based practice have implications for professional autonomy and values, education and training, ways of working and construction of knowledge. Occupational therapy lecturers are at the interface between student education and professional practice and therefore have unique insights into the way in which these factors are shaping their professional identity and that of the profession.

Nine narrative inquiry focused interviews of occupational therapy lecturers from two universities were carried out. Data was interpreted through a Bourdieusian lens of professional habitus, and analysed thematically.

The main factors influencing occupational therapy lecturer identity were noted to be relationships between professional identity and artistry; the professional body of knowledge and language; evidencing practice, neoliberalism and changes to teaching and learning.

The structural factors of neoliberalism, evidence-based practice and associated policies are influencing the occupational therapy professional habitus and, in turn, occupational therapy lecturers’ professional identity. An effective critique of these structural factors is required to maintain the profession’s values and artistry and the knowledge upon which occupational therapy lecturers’ identity is formed and their approaches to teaching and learning are based.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number3
Early online date18 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • evidence-based practice
  • neoliberalism
  • occupational therapy
  • Professional identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Contemporary factors shaping the professional identity of occupational therapy lecturers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this