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Norander, S., Mazer, PJ., Bates, RB. (2011) '"D.O. or die": identity negotiation among osteopathic medical students ', Health Commun. 2011 Jan;26(1):59-70.

Health Commun. 2011 Jan;26(1):59-70.

"D.O. or die": identity negotiation among osteopathic medical students

Stephanie Norander, Joseph P Mazer, Benjamin R Bates


Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) have historically faced an uphill battle to gain professional legitimacy and credibility in a U.S. medical culture dominated by allopathic medicine. Today, struggles surrounding the negotiation of a professional osteopathic identity can be found among osteopathic medical students who actively debate the merits of a potential change in the D.O. designation. This study examines identity construction by analyzing osteopathic medical students' accounts of identity that reveal certain ways they negotiate their emerging professional selves. By merging current literature on identity negotiation from health and organizational communication, we highlight the complex relationship between the discursive construction of professional identity and the embodied and material consequences of becoming a D.O.

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