Prescribing Antibiotics: General Practitioners Dealing with “Non-Medical Issues”?
The medical professions will lose an indispensable tool in clinical practice if even simple infections cannot be cured because antibiotics have lost effectiveness. This article presents results from an exploratory enquiry into “good doctoring” in the case of antibiotic prescribing at a time when the knowledge base in the healthcare field is shifting. Drawing on in-depth interviews about diagnosing and prescribing, the article demonstrates how the problem of antimicrobial resistance is understood and engaged with by Danish general practitioners. When general practitioners speak of managing “non-medical issues,” they refer to routines, clinical expertise, experiences with their patients, and decision-making based more on contextual circumstances than molecular conditions—and on the fact that such conditions can be hard to assess. This article’s contribution to knowledge about how new and global health problems challenge professional actors affirms the importance of such a research agenda and the need for further exploration of the core problems posed by transnational sociology of professions.
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