Item Details

‘I’m an expert in me and I know what I can cope with’: Patient expertise in rheumatoid arthritis

Issue: Vol 10 No. 3 (2013)

Journal: Communication & Medicine

Subject Areas: Healthcare Communication Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/cam.v10i3.249


The active involvement of patients in decision-making and the focus on patient expertise in managing chronic illness constitutes a priority in many healthcare systems including the NHS in the UK. With easier access to health information, patients are almost expected to be (or present self) as an ‘expert patient’ (Ziebland 2004). This paper draws on the meta-analysis of interview data collected for identifying treatment outcomes important to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking a discourse approach to identity, the discussion focuses on the resources used in the negotiation and co-construction of expert identities, including domain-specific knowledge, access to institutional resources, and ability to self-manage. The analysis shows that expertise is both projected (institutionally sanctioned) and claimed by the patient (self-defined). We close the paper by highlighting the limitations of our pilot study and suggest avenues for further research.

Author: Tessa Sanderson, Jo Angouri

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