• Using Poetry, Story, and Reflection to Understand Professional Self After Personal Loss

      Lenover, Cheryl (2014-07-21)
      This research investigated professional identity transformation after personal loss. Through autoethnographic methods, I explore how my personal experience of my sister’s breast cancer and death affected my identity as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I discover a transformation of a professional who focuses on evidence-based medicine to a professional who values connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness with patients and self in the diabetes education encounter. Using a holistic perspective on transformational learning, I integrate the poem “Wild Geese” to a collection of written narratives to connect my personal loss experience to my professional life. By unpacking the generated stories and using poetry, I conduct a process of critical and self-reflection to discover how my identity as a health professional has transformed and what makes meaning in my role as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I consider concepts of a conscious self, social relations and language and discover themes of knowledge exchange, food, and empathy as forms of language expression. These language expressions are not present in my professional life as I focus on rational, logical facts of evidence-based medicine and standardized education methods. Through this reflexive process, I hope to understand how my professional practice has changed, where I place an importance on connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness. I move away from always “doing” in my professional life to focus on my state of “being” in my professional world. Rather than knowledge acquisition as the only factor in professional development, this study contributes to an understanding of additional qualities health professionals may consider that focus on the patient education encounter.
    • Who Am I? Unpacking My Identity as a Physical Education Teacher

      Dierick, Jenna
      Abstract This research project presents a narrative inquiry and autoethnographic stories that make up my identity that in turn informs my teaching practice. By writing a collection of narratives from my life and analyzing their meaning, I have been able to answer the research question: Do I teach who I am? This has allowed me to demonstrate the impact of teaching who we are. I begin by debriefing the importance of teaching who we are and how this fits into this narrative inquiry. I provide the theoretical framework through the work of Parker J. Palmer (1997) that led me to take this research journey. Then I provide a literature review of identity theory, identity in the school system, and identity as a physical educator, so that I am able to understand and incorporate them into my narrative reflections. In the methodology of the narrative inquiry, I provide justification for the research and display the benefits of being vulnerable in qualitative research. The narratives are then presented and provide a flowing connection of how the story grew and unfolded throughout my life. The emergent themes—perfectionism, people-pleasing, holistic health, and masculine and feminine energies—are unpacked to show my identity and why I teach the way I do.