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ERIC Number: EJ932861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-1382-4996
Caring, Competence and Professional Identities in Medical Education
MacLeod, Anna
Advances in Health Sciences Education, v16 n3 p375-394 Aug 2011
This paper considers the multiple discourses that influence medical education with a focus on the discourses of competence and caring. Discourses of competence are largely constituted through, and related to, biomedical and clinical issues whereas discourses of caring generally focus on social concerns. These discourses are not necessarily equal partners in the enterprise of medical education. Discourses of competence tend to be privileged while those discourses of caring are often marginalised. Medical students learn to be physicians, and develop professional identities, in the context of these competing discourses. This paper documents a qualitative study designed to explore how professional identities are developed in the context of competing discourses. The study included a Foucauldian discourse analysis of medical education curriculum documents (67 problem-based learning cases in total), 26 h of observation of a small group learning experience (a problem-based learning tutorial), and in-depth, open-ended interviews with five medical students and nine medical educators at a Canadian medical school. The paper describes how professional identities are developed in relation to discourses of competence, noting that students displayed what they considered to be desirable professional identities of confidence, capability and suitability. Also explored are the professional identities demonstrated in relation to discourses of caring, including those of benevolence and humbleness. Despite current conceptualisations, medical education is ripe with potential. The data indicate Foucauldian "spaces of freedom"--sites at which the complexity of the practice of medicine and the interwoven natures of the discourses of competence and caring might be taken into account as a means of challenging taken for granted cultural norms and broadening the medical gaze.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada