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Trust Matters for Doctors? Towards an Agenda for Research

Douglass, T., Calnan, Michael .W. (2016) Trust Matters for Doctors? Towards an Agenda for Research. Social Theory and Health, 14 (4). pp. 393-413. ISSN 1477-8211. E-ISSN 1477-822X. (doi:10.1057/s41285-016-0010-5) (KAR id:57315)

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Sociological research offers crucial understanding of the salience of trust for patients in mediating a plurality of healthcare activities and settings. Whilst insights generated surrounding the salience of trust for patients are important, other trusting relations within healthcare have largely been neglected. This paper focuses on the significance of trust for doctors, arguing that trust is salient for doctors in facilitating their professional role, in the management of complexity and uncertainty in contemporary medical practice, and is a key mechanism underpinning professional identity. As such, the paper develops a preliminary conceptual framework for researching trust by doctors built upon the idea of a ‘lattice’ of doctor trust relations in various entities and at various levels that may be interconnected. The lattice of doctor trust is comprised of four primary conceptualisations – trust in patients, self trust, workplace trust, and system trust. The paper explores notions of doctors’ need to trust patients to provide accurate information and to commit to certain treatment pathways; the relationship between the self trust of the doctor, clinical activity and trust in others; the need for doctors to trust their professional colleagues and the broader organisational setting to ensure the smooth running of services and integration of care; and notions surrounding the complexity of the broader systems of modern (bio)medicine and the role of trust by doctors to facilitate system functioning.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1057/s41285-016-0010-5
Uncontrolled keywords: trust by doctors, healthcare, uncertainty, patients
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Lucie Patch
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2016 14:08 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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