Doctors' Narratives

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Lorenzo SPERANZA , Dipartimento di Studi Sociali, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
Doctors’ Narratives

My answer to the question outlined in the title of this session would be: “Doctors’ Narratives”. As illness narration is a means to gain direct access to the subjective aspects of illness, so utilization of doctors narratives in which they portrait themselves is important in order to understand who physicians really are. Making a distinction between the motivations behind their choice and the manner in which physicians perform their profession, the author tries to decipher the “black box” of medical identity. He does so using 40 qualitative, in depth interviews with doctors working in Italy in various branches of different ages and professional placements. The narratives so collected appear strikingly similar to those of doctors in flesh and blood from other parts of the world or to “imaginary” doctors created by the fantasy of great writer - doctors (Bulgakov, Čechov, Celine, Conan Doyle, Cronin, Munthe, etc.). Perhaps even the sociological choice of trying to understand the profession through biographical tales reveals more than a point of intersection with the “narrative” approach in medicine: to make a proper anamnesis, both clinically and sociologically, it is necessary to collect a good story, as only this can tell us not only the what, where and when, but also the how and why.