Obesity, heuristic reasoning and the organization of communicative embarrassment in patient-facing diagnostic radiography

Miller, Paul K., Woods, Amanda L., Sloane, Charles and Booth, Lisa (2016) Obesity, heuristic reasoning and the organization of communicative embarrassment in patient-facing diagnostic radiography. In: UK Radiological Congress (UKRC), 6-8 June 2016, ACC Liverpool, UK.

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Abstract

Objectives: To qualitatively explore difficulties emerging around radiographer-patient communication regarding obesity in radiographic encounters, and the situated strategies found by radiographers for handling such situations.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with eight experienced clinicians working in plain radiography (mean experience = 21.56 years) were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), so as to highlight the practical, nuanced and real-world experiences of these individuals regarding obesity communication.

Results: Participants generally viewed communicating with obese patients as a potential ‘minefield’, in which both parties were likely to be embarrassed. Most reported having had negative experiences in which patients had acted with denial or outright aggression during examinations but, conversely, all reported cases in which patients had been frank and open about their obesity, and even been happy to joke about it. Equally, all participants were able to document a range of communicative strategies for effectively handling potentially difficult situations. Results further indicate that communicative problems and embarrassment for the patient only generally arise within material contexts; i.e. when equipment is inadequate or multiple exposures are necessary.

Conclusions: Participants largely expected any interaction about obesity with a patient to be embarrassing for both parties, but their actual experience was much more varied. This indicates a more complex communicative environment than may be expected, and also a potential availability heuristic in play that requires quantitative clarification.

Advances in knowledge: There has, to date, been no empirical investigation of obesity-related communication in everyday radiographic contexts. This paper develops a number of themes for further investigation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Science > Medical and Sports Sciences > Health and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2016 10:43
Last Modified: 08 May 2017 09:32
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2242

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