Health Care Analysis 25 (4):370-385 (2017)

Doctors are increasingly enjoined by their professional organisations to involve themselves in supraclinical advocacy, which embraces activities focused on changing practice and the system in order to address the social determinants of health. The moral basis for doctors’ decisions on whether or not to do so has been the subject of little empirical research. This opportunistic qualitative study of the values of medical graduates associated with the Sydney Medical School explores the processes that contribute to doctors’ decisions about taking up the advocate role. Our findings show that personal ideals were more important than professional commitments in shaping doctors’ decisions on engagement in advocacy. Experiences in early life and during training, including exposure to power and powerlessness, significantly influenced their role choices. Doctors included supraclinical advocacy in their mature practices if it satisfied their desire to achieve excellence. These findings suggest that common approaches to promoting and facilitating advocacy as an individual professional obligation are not fully congruent with the experiences and values of doctors that are significant in creating the advocate. It would seem important to understand better the moral commitments inherent in advocacy to inform future developments in codes of medical ethics and medical education programs.
Keywords Medical ethics  Physicians’ role  Social justice  Supraclinical advocacy  Advocacy  Medical education
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-016-0322-6
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Bioethics: A Systematic Approach.Bernard Gert - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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