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Doctors' attitudes to fibromyalgia (FM): a phenomenological study

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By Hellstrom O, Bullington J, Karlsson G, Lindqvist P, Mattsson B • www.ProHealth.com • September 6, 1998


Besides specific technical skills, successful encounters with
patients require an understanding of the many ways in which
patients may express themselves. This qualitative study
reports on the clinical experiences of doctors when meeting
patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Ten strategically chosen
rheumatologists and 10 GPs in central Sweden were interviewed.

The interviews were taped, transcribed and analysed in
accordance with the empirical, phenomenological, psychological
method. The analyses indicate that doctors try to comply with
the wishes and demands of patients, and at the same time avoid
perceptions of personal frustration. They are inclined to be
objective and to act instrumentally, apparently in order to
keep in touch with what gave biomedical meaning to an
otherwise incomprehensible phenomenon. The meaning structures
revealed by doctors' descriptions of FM and of relating to FM
patients were characterized mainly by the way in which the
doctors were (i) managing their clinical uncertainty, (ii)
adhering to the biomedical paradigm, (iii) prioritizing
diagnostics, (iv) establishing an instrumental relationship,
and (v) avoiding recognizing FM as a possible biomedical
anomaly.




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