Changes and Challenges in Italian Medical Profession: Rethinking Concepts and Reflecting on Future Configuration

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Maria Giovanna VICARELLI, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
Stefano NERI, University of Milan, Italy
Elena SPINA, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
Almost a decade ago, it was argued that doctors were very close to losing their professional dominance, as they underwent different pressures (demographics, epidemiological, technological and socio-cultural). Currently, after a deep economic crisis that has hit Italy, some data indicate that the individual and collective discomfort of physicians has increased significantly, as well as the awareness of overtaking the professional model that was forged during the twentieth century. From a sociological point of view, this raises the question about how the new social relationships characterize and comprise the medical practice. In fact, if one accepts Elias's teaching, professional changes should be read as the result of the remodeling of interdependence bonds that hold all those who need and offer care.

To forge an analytical tool able to address the hypothesis of a decline in physicians’ dominance in Italy, the various suggestions coming from both the scientific and the professional debate can be used. In particular, by using the directions of the Royal College it is possible to identify three major relational areas within the overall configuration of the medical profession. These areas can be understood as sub-configurations that relate to: relationships with patients and their caregivers (family and non-family members); relationships with medical colleagues and other health and social workers; relationships with administrative staff and corporate management, public and political institutions, the goods and services market in its various components.

On this basis, the paper offers a first attempt at interpreting the relationships among professionals and the above-mentioned subjects, as the latter developed in the Italian context, with the awareness, however, that the data are scarce and the themes too big to be able to deduce a result in terms of "dethronement" of doctors.