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Title: The manifestation of mindfulness and the pragmatic use of social and material resources in problem-solving : the case study of junior doctors in NHS England
Author: Ahmad, Malik Imran
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 0391
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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Problem-solving is a critical component of professional practice, particularly in the novel and complex situations that call for rapid decision making. However, although emphasising their importance in professional practice, the literature provides a limited understanding of maintaining mindfulness and the use of social and material resources in the problem-solving process amid an activity, particularly in healthcare. This study, aiming to explore the problem-solving process amid an activity, explores how junior doctors in NHS (United Kingdom) hospital settings recognise and solve problems by maintaining mindfulness and using contextual resources (social and material resources) to achieve specific objectives. The aim of the study and the main features of problem-solving (problem-solving process, problem recognition and problem-solving in achieving specific outcomes), direct this research to explore three questions: 1) How is mindfulness and information processing manifested in the situated processes of junior doctors' problem recognition during their everyday work? 2) How do junior doctors decide when and why to use social and material resources in the midst of their problem-solving process? 3) How do junior doctors work with social and material resources amid their problem-solving process? To explore the questions above, I used and leveraged data from the shadowing (45-days), artefacts (300 reflective logs, online databases) and interviewing (n=22) of junior doctors, conducted as part of this study. The rich data and analysis offered a number of contributions. First, this study contributes by showing how junior doctors (novice professionals) remain mindful of bodily actions, professional knowledge, tools and technology, while at the same time processing acquired information in defining problems in a distinct way; i.e., bodily actions capture clues that enable the recall of related knowledge and are subsequently organised to capture all related clues and information. Furthermore, junior doctors interpret clues and information that can be based on intuitive and analytical reasoning as defined in the dual process theory of information during problem recognition. I reveal that contextual complexities and clues if captured effectively through actions and body sensory clues (listening, smelling, feeling, touch etc.), facilitate cognition during the problem-solving process, contrary to findings from recent research. Second, the findings offer a novel insight into the process of employing social and material resources for problem-solving. My study shows that social and material resources are equally important and reveals explicitly when and why social or material resources are used. The study establishes that material recourses are used when the problem is sophisticatedly defined (articulated in medical professional language) during the problem-solving process, while social resources are employed when the problem is crudely defined during the problem-solving. Finally, the study shows that that effective use of social resources during problem-solving is dependent on the assessment of expertise and availability of the person consulted. This advances our understanding by showing that this aspect of problem-solving also relies on the willingness of a specific person to help in a given time and space. The study has several practical implications in minimising error in medical decisions making and improving the learning of junior doctors, which are also specified.
Supervisor: Fotaki, Marianna ; Korica, Maja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RA Public aspects of medicine