Physicians play a critical role in ensuring that patients receive the best possible care. Physicians work with a variety of patients that fall into various categories. Because of the age difference, the type of care each group of patients receives varies. However, due to the essence of each patient’s age, doctors have been known to give patients special care depending on the differences. As a result, doctors play a critical role in ensuring that they can differentiate between older and younger patients. It would be possible to comprehend the type of care to be provided to any of the classes in the course of their practice by doing so. Medical Decisions and Practices used by Physicians to Discriminate between Older and Younger Patients

Physicians use a variety of medical decisions and practices to discriminate between the younger and older patients in the course of practice. The differences in the two groups of patients are dependent on a variety of factors ranging from their physical, biological, and psychological or the social dimensions. The discrimination made between the two groups will depend on the variations witnessed in such areas.

Age plays a fundamental role in increasing the chances of a patient to suffer from a given condition. Therefore, those who present to the hospital with a particular condition can make it possible for the physicians to determine the possibility of belonging to a given age group. For example, older male patients have a higher chance of suffering from prostate cancer compare to the younger ones. Therefore, a patient who presents to the hospital with such a condition may provide insight to the medical service provider on whether or not the condition they are young or old. The physician may, therefore, find themselves discriminating against such patients because of the contraction of the disease. The physical state of such patients may provide insights as to the possible age of the patient (Hopman, & Rijken, 2015). Additionally, older patients are at a higher chance of developing coronary heart disease. Therefore, if a patient was to present to the hospital suffering from the given condition, the then chances are that they may be older. The disease that a patient presents with is helpful in enabling the physician to understand the nature of the age of the patient.

Medical decisions made by physicians may also be guided by the nature of occupation undertaken by particular patients. Older workers may not have the capacity to undertake certain tasks for prolonged durations compared to the younger patients. For example, when two groups of patients present in the hospital, the information they provide regarding how long they are capable of undertaking a particular task is critical in providing insight as to whether they are young or older. Therefore, physicians use the information to make a decision on whether they patient they are dealing with is older or younger resulting in discrimination in treatment (Wandner, Heft, Lok, Hirsh, George, Horgas, & Robinson, 2014). This will depend on how much they are capable of handling a particular task that is assigned. For example, the ability of older patients to deal with heavy tasks is limited compared to the younger counterparts. The difference in age can be disadvantageous to the more elderly patients since it limits their capability to tackle a particular task. Such information is helpful in providing insight to the physicians as to whether they are dealing with older or younger patients presenting to the hospital seeking medical help.

Further, physicians use their practice in discriminating between the older and younger patients by evaluating their response to medication. The age difference has a fundamental role to play in determining the ability of a particular patient to respond to a given medication. For example, in providing medication, the physician is able to tell whether or not the patient is old or young based on the response they give to the treatment. Those who fail to respond may do so because of the variation in their age difference. For example, children are given a particular dosage that is expected to elicit an appropriate response in them. Similarly, the older patients have a prescription with the ability to help them recover from a given condition. Therefore, physicians use their practice to discriminate between the older and the younger patients with regard to the nature of response each of them gives to the regimen being given.

Finally, older and younger patients face different issues in the society. The way in which the more elderly patients conduct themselves depends on the factors that they encounter in their daily life. Therefore, each of the patients will present to the physician with a particular social issue that may have a profound effect on their medical condition. The physicians can, therefore, use their medical practice to discriminate between the older and the younger patients as they present to the hospital for treatment. The fact that each is likely to face different social problems means is likely to result in a different response from the physicians. This is primarily attributed to the variation in the age differences between the patients that they are dealing with at a particular condition.

Role of Socialization in Determining Decisions made by Physicians

Socialization plays a fundamental role in determining the decisions made by the physicians. Socialization focuses on the internalization of norms and the ideological state of the society. It identifies the need to learn and teach enabling one to gain cultural awareness. Socialization plays a fundamental role in determining the nature of decisions that are made by a particular healthcare practitioner (Joseph-Williams, Elwyn, & Edwards, 2014). Through the course of practice, the physicians are able to understand the state of patients hence guiding the manner in which they make decisions.

Physicians have the opportunity to interact with different groups of patients from diverse age groups. Therefore, they get to understand their individual needs from knowledge acquired in the course of practice. For example, physicians have the understanding that elderly patients may need a more specialized form of care compared to the young counterparts. This emanates from the fact that they are seen to be more vulnerable to getting affected because of various factors. For instance, some of the elderly patients may be stressed because of the manner in which they have led their lives. In other cases, it could be that they are abandoned. The experiences encountered by such elderly patients is a factor that guides the manner in which they make the decisions. For example, it is possible to understand the type of care that a particular patient will need based on the condition they are facing. Through the interaction with the different groups of patients, it is possible to understand the nature of care to be provided to such patients.

Relation to Socialization Theory

Symbolic interactionism is the theory that can be used to relate to the discussion on how the physicians make decisions. The theory identifies that society comes to being through social behavior of persons (Carlson, 2013). The theory illustrates the concept of interaction among different members of the society. Indeed, physicians interact and make decisions based on how they interact with the different groups of patients when conducting practice.


Carlson, E. (2013). Precepting and symbolic interactionism–a theoretical look at preceptorship during clinical practice. Journal of advanced nursing, 69(2), 457-464.

Hopman, P., & Rijken, M. (2015). Illness perceptions of cancer patients: relationships with illness characteristics and coping. Psycho‐Oncology, 24(1), 11-18.

Joseph-Williams, N., Elwyn, G., & Edwards, A. (2014). Knowledge is not power for patients: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of patient-reported barriers and facilitators to shared decision making. Patient education and counseling, 94(3), 291-309.

Wandner, L. D., Heft, M. W., Lok, B. C., Hirsh, A. T., George, S. Z., Horgas, A. L., … & Robinson, M. E. (2014). The impact of patients’ gender, race, and age on health care professionals’ pain management decisions: An online survey using virtual human technology. International journal of nursing studies, 51(5), 726-733.

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