Doctors on an edge: a cultural psychology of learning and health

Linden West

in Biographical methods and professional practice

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861344939
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301554 | DOI:
Doctors on an edge: a cultural psychology of learning and health

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This chapter's analysis is derived from in-depth, longitudinal, collaborative and auto/biographical research among twenty five general practitioners (GPs) or family physicians, working in demanding inner-city contexts, including inner London. The research concentrates on the learning, role and wellbeing of the GPs during the period of changing roles and expectations including within the management of healthcare in Britain, and a period of growing criticism over performance and accountability. The research chronicles and theorises, through case study material and an interdisciplinary ‘cultural psychology’, the impact and meaning of social and cultural change among the diverse groups of physicians. The research presented in this chapter focuses as well on the role and nature of lifelong learning in the management of change and professional development. It records and documents some of the doctor's doubts and anxieties n training and biomedical model itself. It also explores the psychological stress and feelings of helplessness that the doctors experience including the difficulties of dealing with this in a medical culture in which doctors are taught that they should know and cope. This chapter focuses on two stories of two doctors, who because of multiple identities and experiences of oppression have felt on the margins of profession.

Keywords: auto/biographical research; general practitioners; changing roles; changing expectations; healthcare in Britain; performance and accountability; cultural psychology; social change; cultural change; lifelong learning

Chapter.  6057 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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