The discourse of professional identity in child and adolescent mental health services

Baldwin, Laurence James (2008) The discourse of professional identity in child and adolescent mental health services. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Background: Child and adolescent mental health teams have traditionally been constructed using multidisciplinary teams of different professions. Current workforce policy in mental health, however, stresses team function and the skills and competences required to fulfil that function which leads to a questioning of professional identity within those teams.

Aims: This study aims therefore to define how professional identity is constructed in the policy discourse and amongst a sample of current practitioners in mental health teams.

Methodology: This study uses a linguistic method, Critical Discourse Analysis, to question whether functional approaches based on role theory are appropriate when identity work discourse has overtaken role theory as a way of thinking about professional working. It uses elements of role theory and identity work thinking, informed by postmodernist theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, to look at the need for the underlying conceptual frameworks that professional training and socialisation bring.

Findings: By analysing the current policy discourse, and a sample of practitioner discourse on the subject, the study shows that there is a need for the professional identity of individuals to be better addressed and understood. It examines the importance of the underlying conceptual frameworks that inform the skills and competences and what these frameworks bring to team functioning. The study also questions the way in which policy uses linguistic capital as a change agent to bring about workforce modernisation in child and adolescent mental health teams.

Conclusions: The study highlights the need for professional groups to maintain their professional identity by being better able to articulate the contribution they make to team functioning by virtue of their conceptual frameworks. These are shown to inform the way in which individuals use their skills and competences to care for service users and their carers.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Crawford, P.
Owen, S.
Keywords: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Professional identity identity work Critical Discourse Analysis Philosophy Bourdieu role theory policy discourse mental health nursing CAMHS
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WM Psychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Item ID: 10504
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 11:32

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