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Managing health risks: junior doctors' views of risk and decision making

Richard Fuller (Medical Department for the Elderly, The General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



Managing risk and making decisions presents an increasing challenge to doctors as they are encouraged to adopt a partnership approach with patients to dealing with risk, within a “risk society” constructed around individuality, uncertainty, blame and responsibility. In‐depth interviews, stimulated by clinical vignettes, were used to explore the key position of doctors within this risk society. Analysis, sensitised through contemporary texts, revealed unexpected findings that portrayed doctors as reflexive jugglers of risk. Discourses in this study revealed indecision and uncertainty, balanced against needs to preserve professional roles and engage patients in addressing risk, whilst preventing widespread harm and conflict. In concluding, the alternative approaches to risk with older people will suggest a more trusting and positive process that presents a real opportunity for truly sharing risk and decisions that benefit both doctor and patient.



Fuller, R. (2004), "Managing health risks: junior doctors' views of risk and decision making", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 155-178.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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