Emergency care under the magnifying glass: a review of ethnographic studies in the scientific literature on hospital emergency services

Anahi Sy Brenda Moglia Gisele Aragunde Paula Derossi About the authors

The article presents a review of ethnographic studies in the scientific literature on hospital emergency services, with the objective of systematizing the studies and their principal findings, referring to the health-disease-healthcare process in hospital emergency services from an ethnographic perspective. An integrative literature review was performed of studies published in Argentine and international indexed journals and in the following electronic databases: PubMed, VHL, Scopus, Redalyc, and SciELO. The corpus of the analysis consisted of a total of 69 articles, which were submitted to content analysis, having identified the following analytical dimensions: quality of care, communication and bonds, subjectivity, application of information technologies, methodological reflection, patients’ experiences and practices, decision-making, and violence. The results allowed identifying a process that differs from guidelines and protocols, in which healthcare workers’ subjective aspects, communication and interpersonal relations, and working conditions shape, orient, and condition the treatment and care provided in the hospital. The article thus highlights the approach to subjective aspects in health studies, to understand not only health workers’ perspectives and experiences but also the persistent barriers to providing better quality of care, complexifying a problem ignored by a large share of the analyses.

Emergency Medical Services; Ethnography; Qualitative Research

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