Changing relationship between the medical profession and society
Background. Physicians have a significant role when it comes to sustaining the system of public health care and public health. Changes in the public health care system have challenged the professional identity of the medical profession. There have been only a few qualitative research studies about the professional relationship between the medical profession and society in Finland that focus on the voice of the medical profession itself.
Methods. The data consist of 263 editorials of the Finnish Medical Journal between the years 1980 and 2014. As the Journal is a publication of the Finnish Medical Association, we presume that editorials reflect an inner voice of the medical profession. Content analysis and discursive analysis were used as analysis methods.Results. The relationship between a medical profession and society is expressed by duties, working ideologies and working circumstances. The discourse has changed over the period studied. In the 80s the argumentation seems to focus more on the basic duties of the medical profession, whereas during the new millennium the emphasis is on working circumstances.
Conclusions. The medical profession in Finland seems to use argumentation focussing on work circumstances when it comes to defining their professional role and relationship with society.
The result reflects the challenges faced by primary health care during the past decades, particularly with regard to the engagement of medical professionals in their work.