ERIC Number: ED390068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Ethos and Medical Narratives: How Narratives Written by Emergency Medical Personnel Reflect Professional Authority and Affect Patient Care.
Munger, Roger H.
Since written reports are completed on most calls to which emergency medical technicians (EMTs) respond, report writing is an important part of their professional lives. Discourse analysis focused on how EMTs establish professional authority using specific rhetorical strategies when completing "run reports." One way of understanding the role of run reports in emergency care is that of a "charter document" which makes official certain ways of seeing and precludes other ways. Like medical journal articles, run reports must be persuasive to convince emergency department staff and quality review boards that their findings are credible and reliable. One common feature of the run reports analyzed was the inclusion of what some healthcare providers term "excuses." Instructions listed in New York Health Department's "EMS Program Student Manual" for completing run reports make no mention of including reasons for not following protocols, but excuses were usually found at the end of the narratives and explained why something was not done that should have been done. In the reports examined, EMTs were dissociated from their patients, as befitting their professional authority. Mastery of jargon is one indicator of expertise and authority--how EMTs state their findings is very important. Like other medical writers, EMTs are expected to use unadorned language. The narrative section, two short objective and subjective assessments, summarizes the emergency call. Examining how report forms influence issues of authority, credibility, and professionalism in the EMS community is the first step in teaching EMTs how to successfully produce the knowledge required on written reports. (PA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Medical Writing; Professional Behavior; Report Format; Rhetorical Strategies; Run Reports (Emergency Medical Technicians)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Penn State Conference on Rhetoric and Composition (14th, University Park, PA, July 12-15, 1995).