Skip to main content

Subjunctive medicine: Enacting efficacy in general practice.

Hardman, D., Geraghty, A.W.A., Lown, M. and Bishop, F.L., 2020. Subjunctive medicine: Enacting efficacy in general practice. Social Science & Medicine, 245 (January), 112693.

Full text available as:

[img] PDF
Subjunctive medicine_Accepted Manuscript.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 21 November 2020.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

281kB

DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112693

Abstract

Modern general practice is complex. Issues such as multimorbidity, polypharmacy and chronic illness management can make applying myriad single condition evidence-based guidelines increasingly difficult. This is compounded because the problems presented in general practice often require both clinical and social solutions. In response to these issues, generalist clinicians are now expected to practise ‘person-centred care’: enabling and empowering patients by combining the technical rationality of medical science with individual values, needs and preferences. To explore this difficult undertaking we conducted an ethnography of a general practice surgery in England, including participant observation, interviews, and focus groups with patients, clinicians, and support staff, from February 2018 to March 2019. Our findings suggest that clinicians in our study faced considerable constraints, broadly conceived as the limits of biomedicine and the structural constraints of general practice. However, they mitigated these by getting into good habits, which we conceive in two categories: using expert judgement and taking patients seriously. We further propose that clinicians did not merely will themselves towards these good habits but developed and adapted them by intuitively adopting a second-order ‘meta’ habit of enaction – treating each consultation as collaboratively co-created anew. This suggests an important feature of the general practice consultation: it is conducted as much in the subjunctive as the indicative mood. Developing this proposition, we propose a more general form of medical practice – subjunctive medicine – extolling the value of the co-created social order of the general practice consultation itself. We suggest that practising subjunctive medicine may help clinicians sustainably and resiliently achieve the aims of person-centred care in modern general practice.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0277-9536
Uncontrolled Keywords:England; Person-centred care; General practice; Ethnography; Grounded theory; Enactivism
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33106
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:03 Dec 2019 09:09
Last Modified:03 Dec 2019 09:09

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -