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Title: An exploration of contemporary working life and professionalism of general practitioners (GPs)
Author: Nascimento, R. W. F. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 7360
Awarding Body: Exeter and Plymouth Peninsula Medical School
Current Institution: Exeter and Plymouth Peninsula Medical School
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis contributes to the scholarship of medical professionalism by construing an anthropological study with general practitioners (GPs) in the United Kingdom (UK). Whilst enquiring into GPs’ working lives, the study attempts to move along interdisciplinary approaches of professionalism by following it in everyday life. It is based on anthropological fieldwork carried out in Devon and Cornwall from November 2011 to February 2013 with mid-career GPs in the National Health Service (NHS). I engaged in participant observation by shadowing four GPs for over eight weeks each and conducted in-depth interviews with two GPs in addition to those I shadowed. Partaking in exploratory enquiries into their working life, the study has three major outcomes. Firstly, I craft a narrative and descriptive account of the ‘correspondence’ process between the GPs and I, attending to what GPs showed or told me and the personal experiences they enabled me to undergo in their presence. I argue that GPs exposed me to ways of carrying on a life informed by a specific “professional culture” but also by a wider “culture of professionalism”. Secondly, I discern motional, spatial and temporal references that provide a sense of orientation in everyday work, such as the moods alternating between work motions, the boundaries delimiting the workplace, and the tasks distinguishing moments at work. I argue that such norms and values, by ordering everyday life, inform GPs’ ‘moral experience’ of professionalism. Thirdly, I examine the premises by which medical generalism presumes ‘jurisdiction’ over place, time and action, and explore GPs’ self-investment in such professionalism claims when negotiating with oneself between one’s expectations and the actualities of working life. I argue that professionalism, as economic morality, affords a personhood animated by an evolving occupational ethos enmeshed with other moral logics along which GPs, as wayfarers, are making a way of life. The thesis proposes an analytical distinction between therapeutic and professional dimensions of medical work. By focusing on the latter, I consider how professionalism engages at micro and macro levels, local and global scales, and in particulars and universals. Finally, by interweaving this ‘practice of education’, the study brings to life a moral economy of professionalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available