Advertisement

© 2020

The Social Organization of Best Practice

An Institutional Ethnography of Physicians’ Work

Book

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Fiona Webster
    Pages 1-12
  3. Fiona Webster
    Pages 13-35
  4. Fiona Webster
    Pages 105-115
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 117-127

About this book

Introduction

‘This book offers a unique critique of evidence based-medicine and how it plays out in everyday practice. It engages with and problematizes the scholarship around “best practice” in an informed and perceptive manner and in doing so, advances the field in a critical way.’

—      Grainne Kearney, Clinical Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Biomedical Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland

‘Webster’s institutional ethnographic research describes how standardizing approaches actually play out in practice. In rich, thick detail we are shown the institutional processes that organize how objective clinical evidence is “rolled out” into the context-laden, deeply social world of healthcare. Offering a unique counter-narrative, the book is illustrative of gaps and risks that may arise when local knowledge is subordinated to coordinated directives from afar.’

—      Janet Rankin, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Calgary, Canada

This book explores how best practice for acute stroke care was developed, translated and taken up in medical practice across various sites in the province of Ontario using institutional ethnographic research. Institutional ethnography, an approach developed by Dorothy E. Smith, builds on Smith’s understanding of the social organization of knowledge, allowing for an examination of the complex social relations organizing people’s experiences of their everyday working lives.

This work thereby makes visible some of the assumptions and hidden priorities underlying the emphasis given to translating scientific knowledge into medical practice. In this study, the discourses of both evidence-based medicine and knowledge translation, purportedly designed to improve patient care, come into view as managerial tools that directed healthcare resources toward academic hospitals rather than community sites where the majority of patients receive care. These models institutionalize inequities in access to care while claiming to resolve them.

Keywords

best practice medicine knowledge translation EBM (evidence based medicine) institutional ethnography textual mediation physician practice social organization social relation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Arthur Labatt Family School of NursingWestern UniversityLondonCanada

About the authors

Fiona Webster is Associate Professor in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Webster obtained her PhD in sociology under the supervision of Dorothy E. Smith at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

‘This book offers a unique critique of evidence based-medicine and how it plays out in everyday practice. It engages with and problematizes the scholarship around “best practice” in an informed and perceptive manner and in doing so, advances the field in a critical way.’

—      Grainne Kearney, Clinical Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Biomedical Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland

‘Webster’s institutional ethnographic research describes how standardizing approaches actually play out in practice. In rich, thick detail we are shown the institutional processes that organize how objective clinical evidence is “rolled out” into the context-laden, deeply social world of healthcare. Offering a unique counter-narrative, the book is illustrative of gaps and risks that may arise when local knowledge is subordinated to coordinated directives from afar.’

—      Janet Rankin, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Calgary, Canada