Learning from Surgery: How Medical Knowledge is Constructed

  • Helena Serra School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Technical University of Lisbon


Using data collected from surgeons working in a transplantation unit in Portugal this article aims to identify how medical knowledge is constructed within the context of surgery. The key theoretical guidelines are drawn from the sociology of professions and medical sociology, particularly social constructivist studies. A qualitative methodological approach was adopted, in which we opted for a partici-pant observation and on-site interviews. Three hypotheses are addressed: 1) the recent shift towards Evidence-Based-Medicine (EBM) influences the primacy of clinical experience in the construction of medical knowledge; 2) medical experience does not strongly links with EBM principles; 3) personal experience is central in the construction of medical knowledge and discourse. This article provides a new window into the study of medical profession, a step forward in the research field. Conclusions show new understanding about EBM practice, insofar as it ties the production of medical knowledge to professional dynamics and autonomy.


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How to Cite
Serra, H. (2013). Learning from Surgery: How Medical Knowledge is Constructed. Professions and Professionalism, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.7577/pp.382