skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The moral discourse of HIV providers within their organizational context: An ethnographic case study.

Fix GM, Hyde JK, Bolton RE, Parker VA, Dvorin K, Wu J, Skolnik AA, McInnes DK, Midboe AM, Asch SM, Gifford AL, Bokhour BG. The moral discourse of HIV providers within their organizational context: An ethnographic case study. Patient education and counseling. 2018 Dec 1; 101(12):2226-2232.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: Providers make judgments to inform treatment planning, especially when adherence is crucial, as in HIV. We examined the extent these judgments may become intertwined with moral ones, extraneous to patient care, and how these in turn are situated within specific organizational contexts. METHODS: Our ethnographic case study included interviews and observations. Data were analyzed for linguistic markers indexing how providers conceptualized patients and clinic organizational structures and processes. RESULTS: We interviewed 30 providers, observed 43 clinical encounters, and recorded fieldnotes of 30 clinic observations, across 8 geographically-diverse HIV clinics. We found variation, and identified two distinct judgment paradigms: 1) Behavior as individual responsibility: patients were characterized as "good," "behaving," or "socio-paths," and "flakes." Clinical encounters focused on medication reconciliation; 2) Behaviors as socio-culturally embedded: patients were characterized as struggling with housing, work, or relationships. Encounters broadened to problem-solving within patients' life-contexts. In sites with individualized conceptualizations, providers worked independently with limited support services. Sites with socio-culturally embedded conceptualizations had multidisciplinary teams with resources to address patients' life challenges. CONCLUSIONS AND PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: When self-management is viewed as an individual's responsibility, nonadherence may be seen as a moral failing. Multidisciplinary teams may foster perceptions of patients' behaviors as socially embedded.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.