This paper is about the nature of contemporary professional identity. It looks at the ways in which 'discursive dynamics' come to re-write the professional teacher and nurse as split, plural and conflictual selves, as they seek to come to terms with a political impetus written through what the authors term an 'economy of performance' in uncertain conflict with various 'ecologies of practice'. The teacher and nurse are thus located in a complicated nexus between policy, ideology and practice. Epistemologically, the paper offers a deconstruction of professional identities, and criticizes the reductive typologies and characterizations of current professionalism. Politically, it reaches towards a more nuanced account of professional identities, stressing the local, situated and indeterminable nature of professional practice, and the inescapable dimensions of trust, diversity and creativity.