The Art of Plate Spinning: a Study of Clinician-scientists’ Translational Work Practices in a Danish Hospital Setting

Publikation: KonferencebidragPosterForskningpeer review


Background: Strengthening “translational pathways” between scientific research, clinical care and measureable health outcomes is politically desirable as a way of insuring that public investments in health science generate payback in the form of improved care practice and improved public health. Policy documents and existing studies on translational research have pointed to the crucial role of clinician-scientists as hybrid professionals with expertise in both health care practice and scientific research. This professional role is often understood as a key actor in facilitating adaptations of knowledge across perceived “translational gaps” between science and health care.

Purpose of study: While the importance of this role has been addressed thoroughly, only few empirical studies focus on clinician-scientists' practices, the ways in which clinician-scientists actually carry out day-to-day hospital-based translational research work. The purpose and contribution of this study is an empirical exploration of clinician-scientists work practices.

Methods/Theory: The study draws on methods and theory from the field of organizational ethnography in particular situational analysis.

Findings:The study analyzes how clinician-scientists must meet demands of multiple arenas, something which tends to be overlooked in the prevalent dualistic discussions of science and clinic as separate domains to be translated to and from each another. The arenas are depicted in turn to highlight the organizational and technical complexity as well as the scope of the specialized knowledges involved.

Conclusion: The paper argues that a continual bringing together of multiple, rather than dual arenas is constitutive of the clinician-scientists' hospital-based research work practice. Multiple arenas are continually held in play - or kept spinning - as in the image of the act of plate spinning.
Publikationsdato12 jun. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 12 jun. 2019
Begivenhed9th Nordic Health Promotion Research Network Conference: Health: Societal responsibility or individual obligation? - Roskilde Universitet, Roskilde, Danmark
Varighed: 12 jun. 201914 jun. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 9


Konference9th Nordic Health Promotion Research Network Conference
LokationRoskilde Universitet
AndetThe 9th Nordic Health Promotion Research Conference addresses the question of how we as researchers are able to investigate and theorize the changing contexts for health promotion and the normativity’s intertwined with late-modern interests in health. How can we understand the duality of health as on the one hand a basic human right, a fundamental resource for living, as well as a precondition for societal cohesion and development, and on the other hand as increasingly becoming a civic obligation left for the individual to fulfill?<br/><br/>The assumption that health may be understood as a simultaneously societal, bodily as well as biological reality, subjectively experienced, objectively measured and socially constructed leads to a need for discussions of what health promotion is and can be in the future. It questions available theories and calls for in-depth reflections on how to engage with sustainable health promotion in theory, as researchers and in practice. Speakers and presenters at The 9th Nordic Health Promotion Research Conference are encouraged to address the conference theme from both empirical and theoretical angles providing a creative space for such reflections.


  • clinician-scientists, physician-scientist, academic medicine, translational research, translational medicine, situational analysis

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