Categories by Heart: Shortcut Reasoning in a Cardiology Clinic

  • Katarina Jacobsson School of Social Work, Lund University

Abstract

This article examines the practice of doctors and nurses to invoke the categories of age, sex, class, ethnicity, and/or lifestyle factors when discussing individual patients and patient groups. In what situations are such references explicitly made, and what does this practice accomplish? The material consists of field notes from a cardiology clinic in Sweden, and a theory of descriptive practice guided the analysis. When professionals describe patients, discuss decisions, or explain why a patient is ill, age, sex, class, ethnicity, and/or lifestyle serve as contextualization cues, often including widespread results from epidemiological research about groups of patients at higher or lower risk for cardiac disease. These categories work as shortcut reasoning to nudge interpretations in a certain direction, legitimize decisions, and strengthen arguments. In general, studying the descriptions of patients/clients/students provides an entrance to professional methods of reasoning, including their implicit moral assumptions.

Author Biography

Katarina Jacobsson, School of Social Work, Lund University
School of Social Work, Lund University. Associate Professor.
Published
2014-09-03
How to Cite
Jacobsson, K. (2014). Categories by Heart: Shortcut Reasoning in a Cardiology Clinic. Professions and Professionalism, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.7577/pp.763
Section
Articles