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Affect is central to patient safety: The horror stories of young anaesthetists


Iedema, R and Jorm, C and Lum, M, Affect is central to patient safety: The horror stories of young anaesthetists, Social Science & Medicine, 69, (12) pp. 1750-1756. ISSN 0277-9536 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.09.043


This paper analyses talk produced by twenty-four newly qualified anaesthetists. Data were collected from round table discussions at the Young Fellows Conference of the Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists 2006. The talk consisted to an important extent of narratives about experiences of horror. The paper isolates three themes: the normalization of horror, the functionalisation of horror for pedagogic purposes, and the problematization of horror. The last theme provides a springboard into our argument that confronting the affect invested in coping with medical–clinical failure is central to enabling young doctors, and clinicians generally, to address and resolve such adverse events. We conclude that the negotiation of affect through shared or ‘dialogic’ narrative is central to enabling doctors to deal with adverse events on a personal level, and to enabling them at a collective level to become attentive to threats to patients' safety.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, adverse event, patient safety, narrative, young doctors, anaesthetists
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Social structure and health
UTAS Author:Iedema, R (Professor Rick Iedema)
ID Code:94286
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Health Sciences B
Deposited On:2014-09-05
Last Modified:2017-12-08

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