Who Am I and What Do I Do?

Developing a Social Work Identity Through Interprofessional Education and Practice


  • Carrie W. Rishel West Virginia University
  • Sara K. Guthrie West Virginia University
  • Helen P. Hartnett West Virginia University




Interprofessional education, MSW education, professional identity, integrated care


The purpose of this study is to examine social work professional identity development through interprofessional education and practice. The Integrated Mental and Behavioral Health Training Program (IMBTP) was developed to prepare students for collaborative practice in integrated behavioral health settings. Interprofessional education and training was a core component of the IMBTP. At the conclusion of five cohorts (graduating 2014-2018), 61 MSW students had completed the training program. Content analysis of qualitative evaluation data revealed professional identity development as a recurring theme across multiple domains. Results demonstrate that providing opportunities for social work students to participate in interprofessional education and training allows for a greater understanding of other professional roles and perspectives, while at the same time helping to solidify the role and identity of a social worker. Social work education programs should consider including interprofessional education experiences for all students.


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