Regional Identity As A Constituent Element Of Upbringing At Medical Schools


The growing interest in the phenomenon of “regionalism” in higher education is associated with two different dynamics: the changes that higher education is undergoing in the context of globalization and digital revolution. The article presents a theoretical overview of modern approaches to the issue of personality identification in the framework of narrow categories, such as a region. The authors propose their own methodology for the study of regional identification, which consists of such components as belonging to the region (primary and secondary), awareness (professional and cultural-historical), as well as engagement (internal and external) of respondents in university life. The study involved 186 students of medical specialties of Medical Academy named after S. I. Georgievsky, V. I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University (Simferopol, Russia). A small number of respondents demonstrate a high level of regional identification by means of in-depth knowledge of the history and cultural heritage of the region, along with knowledge in the field of professional regional uniqueness. The authors believe that the formation of a regional identity within the educational process will contribute to the upbringing of the intellectual elite capable of ensuring moral, economic and political development of the region. To make regional identity a part of educational process, the authors propose to create the image of a “Crimean doctor”, inspired by outstanding healthcare professionals whose names will forever remain within the walls of Medical Academy as a historical value, as an example of spiritual and moral purity and as the cultural heritage of our region.

Keywords: Higher educationprofessional regional uniquenessregionalismregional identity


The technological leap in the development of society indicates a significant increase in scientific knowledge over the past decades, which can be considered complementary in relation to the modern education system. However, education is not only training, but also upbringing, based on evolutionary-biological, psychological, social and moral components. The key problem area of the education system today is the fact that acquiring professional knowledge and skills has been a matter of prime concern for a long while, which could not but affect the quality of processes and methods of upbringing.

Another significant factor that to some extent determines the paradigm of the modern education is globalization, which is characterized by certain positive transformations, such as the creation of a single global economic market, political union, cultural and social interaction between countries. However, it demonstrates some downsides for Russia, the most devastating one being brain drain, with at least one in three students not going to look for Russian employers, but rather choose to work abroad, or at least in Western firms (Golikov et al., 2018). One more fact, not so obvious but as dangerous, is imposing an image of a certain universal lifestyle, which inhibits an individual's personality, prevailing over traditions and customs of the region in which they live. The cardinal transformations in all the spheres of human life aroused increased interest in the preservation, restoration and development of moral values, local culture and personal identity. Sanina (2010) considers that subjective perception of identity predetermined by traditions is likely to change drastically under the current conditions of globalization and transformation. The methods of solving problems related to identification, self-identification and conscious identification are transformed deeply. Modern Russian society is faced with the problem of a moral crisis, which requires a rethinking of the fundamentals of the state’s social policy and highlighting the issues of educating young people according to the new provisions, in keeping with the spirit of the times.

The priority of Russia's state policy in the field of education is training specialists of a new type, where a high level of professional competence is determined not only by the presence of in-depth professional knowledge and skills, but also by a harmoniously developed moral perspective. The government of the Russian Federation has put forward a number of major legislative and regulatory acts in the field of education, culture, social and youth policy: Law of the Russian Federation “On Education”, State program “Strategy of Development of Education in the Russian Federation for the Period Until 2025” of 2015; State program “Patriotic Education of Citizens of the Russian Federation for 2016–2020 years” of 2015 and others. These documents reflect the main directions of the educational policy of the state in the field of moral education of modern young people, as well as set the task of paying more attention to the principles of upbringing of future specialists at higher and vocational schools taking into account the contemporary trends of societal development.

Training of contemporary specialists is characterized by a demand for a high level of both professional competence and morality, which can qualitatively affect the processes of restoring social stability and the spiritual and moral development of society. To meet these requirements, along with consolidation of the scientific and technological level of specialists’ professional training, it is necessary to pay special attention to the upbringing of students who can subsequently establish the prospects for the spiritual and moral recovery of society. Therefore, one of the priority areas of the educational system today is the formation of the professional competence of the future doctor, taking into account the uniqueness and originality of the cultural and historical norms that form the basis for the development of the future specialist.

These circumstances require the elaboration of a new system for the formation of the moral culture of students - future doctors as an important component of the process of their professional development. The actualization of the content and methodology in the system of education today is primarily associated with a shift in emphasis from the accumulation of knowledge, however extensive, to a fundamentally different task, the creation of a culture of thinking among students. Training in this context is complementary and secondary in relation to upbringing, which is based on the age-specific features of personality development and provides objectification of the cultural and historical norms of human development, thus specifying already existing and new cultural forms, meanings and values. The latter, in turn, are evaluated, transformed and included into one’s own unique spiritual world, which makes them a full-fledged participant in the cultural polylogue (Sugrobova, 2014) and allows to learn and produce new cultural experience.

Problems of educating the moral culture of young people have been studied by psychologists and teachers A. S. Zapesotsky, I. I. Zaretskaya, B. T. Likhachev, A. S. Makarenko, I. S. Marienko, E. M. Rangelova, I. F. Svadkovsky, V. A. Slastenin, V. A. Sukhomlinsky, K. D. Ushinsky, I. F. Kharlamov, N. E. Shchurkova and others.

Among the works devoted to the analysis of the contemporary moral culture of the personality and the problems of its formation during the student years in particular, there are works of A. M. Bagautdinov, N. B. Krylova, V. T. Lisovsky, L. I. Nedeli, L. I. Ruvinsky , I. E. Yarmakeev, which discuss certain aspects of the moral culture of students.

Despite the undeniable theoretical significance and practical value of existing research, it should be noted that the potential for moral upbringing during the student years is much greater than the degree of its implementation today. The solution to this problem suggests the organization and purposeful elaboration of special programs, the development of standards and criteria of the moral culture of doctors (taking into account the regional component), as well as pedagogical conditions that ensure the effectiveness of this process.

The national idea of Russia lies in patriotism and love for the Motherland. Being an important component of the national doctrine, the regional sociocultural heritage plays a key role in the upbringing of the younger generation in the country (Russia), making a unique contribution to the life of an individual and their development as a personality. The regional social and cultural environment is considered as a space that accommodates human activity where the personality is formed, its progress and self-development being influenced by interaction with other people, nature, substantive factors, cultural values (Litvak & Blyasova, 2016). In the course of research, the scientists (A. D. Zharkov, O. B. Ershova, P. P. Terekhov, D. V. Shamsutdinova, and others) came to the conclusion that it is the socio-cultural regional environment that is an essential condition for the formation and socialization of an individual, which determines the active position of an adolescent in the development and formation of their living space because of permanent immersion in this environment. Yudina (2012) believes that the formation of the socio-cultural environment precisely in the region’s infrastructure system forms the basis for upbringing of the young generation.

Problem Statement

The article discusses the specifics of the formation of professional competence of students of a medical university based on the cultural and historical heritage of the region. In our study, we turn to the experience of the Crimean region. The Republic of Crimea, being part of the sociocultural system of Russia and an independent subject of the Russian Federation, has considerable pedagogical potential for the implementation of the tasks of moral upbringing of young people.

Research Questions

The professional competence of a doctor is determined by the scope of their activities in the "person-to-person" system, so the social and cultural aspect plays a key role in its formation. Competence in the broad sense is interpreted as the high level of an individual’s socio-practical experience, the level of their acquisition of adequate social and individual forms of activity, which allows a person to successfully and effectively function in the society within their abilities and social status (Karasik, 2002). Important components of a doctor’s activity include their knowledge, skills and developed professional (clinical) thinking, as well as personal qualities (Petrova, 2020). Successfulness in higher education which ultimately means fitting into the labour market depends on student values and attitudes to education and its quality as a key indicator of an individual satisfaction (Razinkina et al., 2018). However, “intellectual capital is usually seen from the point of view of the quantification and transformation of human and intellectual performance into a numerical form” and, according to some researchers, can be calculated as an indicator of professional efficiency (Pokrovskaia et al., 2019). Therefore, the professional competence of a doctor comprises not only medical training itself and universal cultural patterns, but also the socio-psychological aspects of their personality, their values, built on the basis of the cultural and historical heritage of the country as a whole and the region in particular.

After a thorough analysis of the issues of professional upbringing of the future doctor, a number of socio-psychological problems related to development of professional cultural aspects of their personality have been identified during this study. The following issues appeared to be the most common:

  • The problem of self-identification and, as a result, of self-esteem. A modern young person’s guidelines are too diverse for them to clearly comprehend the challenges they face throughout their formative years. Thus, their ideas about how doctors should and how they really do behave are often deformed and the sources of these are not objective characteristics of the doctor as a member of society proven scientifically and socially, but a mixture of speculations shaped under the influence of the immediate environment, or chaotic moral and ethical notions of an immature person. Due to inadequate self-esteem, a student may develop qualities that are unacceptable for a healthcare professional, namely, egocentrism, cynicism, indifference, self-interest, etc.

  • The problem of misconceptions regarding medical profession. Applicants often make their choice focusing on the external signs of the profession, led by the prestige-driven reasons, but think little about everyday routine of healthcare providers. Even well-educated professionals have stereotypical views of groups of people different from themselves and may hold expectations of those groups based on these destroyed images - stereotypes, which may be based on ethnicity, gender, nationality or political affiliation, among others (Black, 2016, p. 174). Unfortunately, stereotypes are not always associated with responsibility as an integrative quality which shows the ability of a person to be held responsible for its actions before oneself, society and the state (Pozdeeva et al., 2019). Stereotyping, both in positive and negative ways, occurs predominantly in complex environments where information asymmetries are prevalent, and which are designed with procedural effectiveness and efficiency, rather than human well-being in mind (Breidbach et al., 2016).

  • the problem of insufficient readiness for individual self-improvement logically arises from the previous ones and clearly reflects the limitations and imperfection of the system of professional and personal values that could prompt future physicians to self-development, as well as explains their weak integration into the general value system of an individual. The desire for self-improvement is included into the nuclear structure of the model of a socially successful person. Scientists came to the conclusion that, in a pedagogical sense, a situation of success is the result of a well-thought-out, prepared strategy and tactics that are evaluated according to certain criteria: achieving socially significant results, activity (creativity, will, communication), regulation (influence on the motivation of external and internal incentives). Thus, success is a powerful driving force in the development and realization of the potential of an individual, which actualizes the subjective position of the individual in the process of mastering the values of society, that is, it becomes personally significant and is implemented in practice in the form of personal achievements (Absatova et al., 2015). Usually personal growth stories began with a powerful experience or a helping relationship (or both), proceeded to introspection, and ended in a personal growth outcome. Personal growth outcomes included changes in values, goals, or direction; healthier behaviors; improved connectedness with others; improved sense of self; and increased productivity, energy, or creativity. Introspection described story components, including motivation (the desire to understand or to improve oneself), reflection, and recognition (e.g., of behaviors, defenses, feelings, or the effect of one's personal history). Powerful experiences, helping relationships, and introspection preceded important personal growth (Kern et al., 2001).

While finding solutions to the above-mentioned issues, first of all, we consider it essential to concentrate on the matter of identification, which is a basic component of the educational process and in the formation of which the environment is of an uppermost significance because it correlates with the space of potential action choice that determines the life horizon, successful social adaptation and professional orientation (Shipunova et al., 2019). In our case, it is a region of development of an individual as a personality. To solve the problem of identification, one should take into account the following psychological and pedagogical factors:

  • identification as a psychological process through which an individual assimilates the property or attribute of others and is transformed, in whole or in part, with the help of the model / models thereby providing new models. According to Petrakova (2017), human cognitive activity is of great importance for the analysis of identification through perception of the world and of oneself as part of the universe, which makes it possible to consider identification as a process of self-identification. According to Malinova (2009), those identity markers that contribute to the preservation of individual living space and support development are a priority for the research.

  • self-identification of a personality occurs under the influence of culture and thought leaders. Carrying out experimental studies with children of Italian, Chinese and African American descent, scientists have proved that ethnic awareness and self-identification are present in children as young as 4-5 years old. It was also noted that representatives of their own ethnic group evoke more sympathy than representatives of any other ethnic group (DeCaroli et al., 2013). Being formed by society, a personality is influenced by the outside world. Passing through the prism of a personality, external influences are refracted; having penetrated, they are absorbed and form new aspects of a personality (Bespalova et al., 2019), one of them being regional identity.

  • an individual in the early stages of growing up needs guidelines, role models, who they could relate themselves with and who they could look up to; such role models refer to both social integration (that is, a successful and respected person) and professional authority (that is, a medical influencer);

  • regionalism – belonging to a certain region (for example, Crimea) – contributes to the development of such feelings as concern for the interests and historical fate of the region; pride in the social and cultural achievements of the region; respect for the historical past of the Crimea and its inherited traditions; attachment to the place of residence, etc. Therefore, we propose to solve these problems and achieve the goal of increasing the level of the cultural component of the doctor’s professional competence in the historical and cultural paradigm, relying on decent personalities, humane attitudes and scientific achievements related to the doctor’s profession. Such personalities (influencers in medical profession) can be scientists, prominent figures who have made a significant contribution to the development of a regional educational institution, as well as those who are world famous, but have a direct relationship to the regional university.

Purpose of the Study

Elaborate the methodology of creating the image of a modern Crimean doctor. This “role model” doctor is a Crimean by origin or upbringing (educated at Medical Academy named after S.I. Georgievsky of V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, here and after referred to as Medical Academy), the one inspired by examples of outstanding personalities (doctors nurtured and brought up on cultural traditions and moral values of the region), the one who will become a highly qualified specialist, will bring worldwide fame to the region, thereby winning the respect of the countrymen and honouring the Motherland.

Research Methods

The author's methodology of “regionalism in higher education makes it possible to assess the level of regional self-identification of respondents (regional identity). The phenomenon that we define as “regionalism” in higher education is associated with three different dynamics: primary (secondary) belonging to the region; awareness and engagement in the social activity of the region.

The scientific literature sought to unify the definition of "regionalism", which is based on the concept of "region" (Chou & Ravinet, 2015). The most cited articles (Chou & Ravinet, 2016; Fawcett & Gandois, 2010; Mattli, 2012) suggest defining a “region” in at least two different ways: as a physical and socio-political space characterized by geography, politics, economics, society, culture, language, or function (Hettne, 2005); or as the cohesion of “space”, which leads to the definition of “region” according to degrees of “region-ness” (Warleigh-Lack & Van Langenhove, 2010, p. 547). In our study, regionalism is seen as the allocation and consolidation of a regional space, a regional community, a regional cultural and historical heritage in close integration with a regional entity. A regional identity is understood as the ability to consciously join the regional community, the professional regional community, while maintaining its uniqueness, which sets the personal behavioral standards of a citizen of the region and a specialist in the profession of a doctor.

The scale of primary (secondary) belonging to the region. Primary belonging is determined by the factor of being born in the Crimea; secondary belonging symbolizes the process of social upbringing that respondents receive being trained at Medical Academy.

The moral awareness scale includes a patriotic component, namely, the cultural and historical layer of respondents' knowledge, as well as a professional component, i.e. their knowledge of outstanding doctors who have worked at and of great achievements which have been made within the walls of Medical Academy or the Crimea in general. These historical figures are important as both an exemplar of spiritual and moral purity and a role model.

Engagement is a social interaction with the outside world using standards of morality, ideals and values acquired from the regional educational community (such activities may include: research, volunteer work, classroom and extracurricular activity both within the scientific community of Medical Academy and outside as a representative of Medical Academy). Engagement determines the individual’s ability to consciously and persistently change the world and themselves, which is directly related to such qualities as commitment and determination.

The methodology is based on questionnaires containing 18 both open-ended and closed questions, the answers to which help assess the degree of regional identity of the respondents. The study involved 186 students of Medical Academy. The homogeneity of the selection is explained by its representativeness.


The questionnaire results

At the next stage of our study, we conducted a survey aimed at determining the level of regional self-identification of respondents. The questionnaire included 18 items:

  • the first set of questions (1 to 6) were concerned with personal data, as well as information about primary or secondary belonging to the region (whether a respondent is a native of the Crimean region or came here to receive higher education) as this fact is of considerable significance for our study;

  • the next four questions (7 to 10) aimed to draw attention to the preservation of historical memory and checked students' awareness of the cultural and historical background of the Crimean Peninsula, from well-known events (for example, the Yalta Conference) to unique facts not widely known outside the region (for example: “Which city of Crimea is only 200 years younger than Rome?” It goes about Kerch, or Panticapaeum, founded by the ancient Greeks in the 7th century BC);

  • items from 11 to 15 assessed the respondent’s awareness in the profession (presence of healthcare professionals in the family and cognizance of achievements and activity of famous doctors connected with the Crimea. Examples of questions: “Who was the first to apply the plaster cast to treat fractures? When was it?”, “What Crimean scientist was Negotinthia efetovi named after in 2019?”). The students were also asked to give their opinion and name people who are best described as an outstanding personality in the field of medicine, a humanist doctor and a patriot, and an innovative doctor. These reflect the components of the image of a “regional doctor” we have chosen;

  • to determine the level of social engagement, the respondents were asked to answer questions about their participation in the events at both the university and the regional level (questions 16 and 17);

  • at the end of the survey, it was proposed to analyse the questionnaire and summarize its thematic focus as a whole. Taking into account the fact that all the questions were directly or indirectly related to the Crimea, we consider that a correctly drawn conclusion can serve as an additional factor in determining the regional identification of the respondents.

The study shows that most respondents have an average level of a general regional identity index as a whole and each of its components separately (Table 1 ). This indicates that students of Medical Academy have a sense of regional relevance, which allows them to experience patriotism and pride in their native land. However, various objective and subjective reasons do not allow them to demonstrate the high level of regional identity by all assessment criteria.

Table 1 -
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The general index, reflecting the degree of formation of an individual’s regional identity, showed a small number of respondents with high (15%) and low (25%) levels.

A small number of students (15%) showed a high level of regional identity. Being natives of the region under study, they have in-depth knowledge of not only cultural-historical, but also professional nature, and also take an active part in the public internal and external activities of Medical Academy. Regionalism allows you to analyze the route of development of the region, to understand the features characteristic of the formation of the regional picture of the world, the ethnic consciousness of peoples, which will subsequently contribute to the positive dynamics of the region. The high level of personal regional identity also testifies to the productive interaction between cultural and educational institutions of the region, to the methodological support of the process of interaction of regional culture and an individual (programs, textbooks, teaching aids, etc.), as well as inter-age personal communication of all participants in the process of familiarizing with regional cultural and professional values.

25% of respondents showed a low level of regional identity, which indicates their insufficiently active social position and, as a result, the lack of a sense of belonging to both regional and professional communities.

A component analysis of regional personality identity highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of regionalism. Being a component of the analysis, belonging to the region cannot, nonetheless, be considered highly informative, since there was actually no “low” level of this indicator. The vast majority of respondents (85%) were born and raised in the Crimea, and only 15% of students come from other regions of Russia, i.e. they are all citizens of the same country. The sample of our study did not include the data about students from other countries of the world.

The engagement component is very informative. A rather small number of students demonstrated the low level of external (20%) and internal (15%) participation in the social and scientific activities of Medical Academy which means that the integration of personal and general interests here is very dynamic. And high rates (55% and 70%) of the same component for the students with the high level of engagement indicate that they have a system of social interaction and are able to overcome socially-conditioned difficulties. These students have developed civil dignity, since they consider themselves an integral part of the university community and enjoy representing their Academy at educational and social events both in our country and abroad.

In our opinion, the component of moral awareness deserves special attention, since the difference between the indicators of cultural-historical and professional awareness is very significant. Thus, 60% of the students demonstrated a high level of historical and cultural regional awareness; at the same time, only 15% get the high level in the professional aspect. And though only 10% showed a low level in the cultural-historical aspect, 35% of the students looked very deplorable in the professional aspect. It becomes obvious that against the background of in-depth knowledge about the history and cultural heritage of the region, the sphere of professional regional uniqueness remains shaded, not marked sufficiently in the educational process and requires compensation through methodical recommendations as instructional guidelines, which will contain information about famous figures - doctors whose professional biography is characterized by high morality and who belong to the Crimean region. To motivate the further development of medical students, it is important not only to refer to the traditions of the past, but also to inform the students about the innovative breakthroughs in the medical field made by the representatives of the region.

Methodological recommendations

Methodological recommendations on expanding a cultural and patriotic awareness are developed with the aim of increasing the level of regional self-identification, which will allow students already at the initial stage of training not only to be proud of their region and the chosen profession, but also to strive for self-development and self-improvement.

We propose practical recommendations to create a positive image of the “Crimean doctor”:

  • The doctor as an outstanding personality. An example of such a historical figure whose life and work is connected with medicine and the Crimea is Saint Luke. The secular name of the Crimean Archbishop is Valentin Feliksovich Voino-Yasenetsky, his life began (on April 27, 1877 in Kerch) and ended (on June 11, 1961) in the Crimea. Over the period of his professional activity, a professor of medical sciences published several works that earned international recognition and awards. The Archbishop of Simferopol and the Crimea was a good shepherd, healing illnesses, both mental and physical, and a talented surgeon.

  • The doctor as an innovator. In this section, we will focus on scientific achievements and inventions made by the great doctors who are directly connected with the Crimea. One of such outstanding personalities was Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov – the Soviet orthopedic surgeon, inventor, doctor of medical sciences (1968), professor (1976). He was a graduate of Crimean State Medical Institute named after I.V. Stalin (in 1944), an author of 208 inventions (one of the most famous is the Ilizarov apparatus) and methods that have received worldwide recognition and have been used and customized in 60 countries.

Among the great contemporaries whose achievements are world-famous today and who can become a role model for the students one cannot but name a representative of the Crimean medical dynasty Efetov Konstantin Aleksandrovich – a biochemist, a biologist, a doctor of biological sciences (since 1994), a professor (since 1995), Head of the Department of Biochemistry (since 1999), a graduate of Crimean Medical Institute. For the first time in the world Prof. Efetov proposed to study the proteins of the human immune system under the normal and pathological conditions using peptides and insect proteins. Besides, the researcher described a new subfamily, 8 genera and 11 subgenera of living organisms. In honour of K. A. Efetov, scientists from Austria, Russia, Ukraine and France named five biological species (e.g., Etroga efetovi), one subspecies (Tetrops gilvipes efetovi) and a subgenus of living organisms (Efetovia).

These are just a few of hundreds of outstanding people whose names are firmly linked to the Crimea and Medical Academy; they will always be the part of history and culture of our region, inspiring the young generation to develop and improve themselves.


In this concluding section, we briefly summarize that regionalism is a phenomenon based on respect for local culture and traditions. We believe that regionalism in higher education is increasingly important in a globalization context since regional culture as an element of a distinctive sociocultural framework, which has its own geographical and temporal space, is able to fulfil the need of a member of a regional community for their self-identification. Regional self-identification of a person in a particular region is possible under the following conditions: understanding the role of the person in the development of regional culture (regardless of gender, age, social status, etc.); ensuring the continuity of interaction between regional culture and an individual; study and promotion of the local inhabitants’ contribution to the formation of its culture.

Therefore, the educators have an important task to find such mechanisms of shaping a society of the future that, relying on the best achievements of the past, will not destroy, but renew, not narrow, but expand the sphere of spiritual and moral life, using, in particular, a reference to famous medical specialists whose professional biography has high moral indicators and ethnicity in the Crimean region as a tool.

The results of our study allow us to conclude that the regional self-identification of young people plays an important role in the social integration and social realization of students, because those students who have demonstrated a high level of regional identification not only have in-depth professional and cultural-historical knowledge, but they are also active participants in both internal and external university events, which contributes to the harmonious development of the personality of young people and their active participation in the life and development of the region.

Despite extensive studies of regionalism as a phenomenon, the issues related to its formation and promotion among students remain unresolved. Therefore, the analysis of the prospects for implementation of the regional component into the educational process during the first years of study may be considered as one of the priorities of modern education.


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Logvina, S., Sakhno, Y., & Zviagintseva, V. (2020). Regional Identity As A Constituent Element Of Upbringing At Medical Schools. In O. D. Shipunova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future & Communicative Strategies of Information Society, vol 98. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 420-431). European Publisher.