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Chapter 12

HLTHAGE 1AA3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Canadian Medical Association, Medical Error, List Of Universities In Canada

Health, Aging and Society
Course Code
Elena Neiterman

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Chapter 12: The Medical Profession
The Profession of Medicine:
-there are 3 distinct ways to think about professions and professionalization:
Professions can be considered occupations that have certain specific characteristics or traits
Professions can be viewed as the result of processes of occupational change over time
It is possible to consider the notion of the profession as ideology
Profession as Occupation The Trait Approach:
-Goode (1956, 1960) thought that professions were special occupations that embodied two basic
characteristics: prolonged training in a body of specialized/abstract knowledge and a service orientation
-the characteristics of the medical profession in Canada today are somewhat similar to those suggested
by Goode (page 294)
Profession as Process:
-the steps to becoming a professional in this perspective are as follows:
The members of the occupation engage in full time work
They establish a relationship with a training/education program
They establish an association
They gain legal status
They construct a code of ethics
-the less accessible the knowledge is to a wide spectrum of the population, the greater the power of the
professional group compared to the potential client group
-3 crucial variables determine the degree of power held by a professional group:
The more esoteric the knowledge base of professional practice and the less accessible this
knowledge is to the lay public, the greater the power of the profession
The greater the social distance between the client and the professional when the professional is,
for instance, of a higher income level and social class than the client, the greater the power of the
The greater the homogeneity of the professional group in contrast with the heterogeneity of the
client group, the greater the power of the profession
Profession as Ideology:
-an ideology is a group of descriptive and prescriptive beliefs used to explain and legitimize certain
practices and viewpoints
-Parsons (1951) adopted the prevailing ideology of professionals when he argued that a profession has
the following characteristics: universalism, functional specificity, affective neutrality and a collectivity
-an effective ideology allows physicians to dominate and monopolize the field
-the ideological position of professionalism is widely challenged today in the wake of increasing costs
without parallel improvements in life expectancy or health quality, mounting evidence of doctors
mistakes, and growing rates of errors associated with hospitals and pharmaceuticals
-an important blow to the Canadian popular belief in the altruism of the medical profession arose at the
time of the 1962 doctors strike in Saskatchewan
-due to this strike, some doctors have become increasingly militant to their fight for what they consider
to be improved health care and health care funding
-among the other threats to medical dominance is the easy availability, to millions of people around the
globe, of medical information via the Internet
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