Time, space and physicians’ professional autonomy

To get a firm understanding of physicians’ autonomy, it is important not just to take into account their formal position within the hospital division of labor, but also the temporal and spatial aspects of their work, as it impinges on their ability to control and accomplish their work. The aim of the proposed study is to explore the temporal and spatial ordering of medical work within the hospital and its consequences on physicians’ professional autonomy.

The main research question asked and sought answered is:
How does the temporal-spatial ordering of medical work within hospitals affect physicians’ professional autonomy?
Through the use of participant observation over a period of approximately five months, following a team of surgeons and exploring their everyday (and –night) working-practices, tracking their physical movements and social interaction across and throughout the different physical, temporal and organizational segments of the hospital, issues of physicians’ professional autonomy, authority and jurisdiction within contemporary hospitals will be addressed and highlighted. Semi-structured interviews with the surgeons will also be conducted.


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