Technology for Professional Image Construction of a Medical Worker: COVID-19 Media Discourse

education and communication, professional culture

The purpose of this study is to identify the technology for constructing a professional image of a medical worker through the COVID-19 media discourse. The empirical base consists of international publications (VOGUE, GQ, TIME, New Yorker, Esquire), national publications  (Meduza, Rossiyskaya Gazeta) and at regional or local level (Kazan, levels, all during the time-frame of March to December 2020. A complex of methods is used: structural analysis, contextual analysis, discourse analysis, visual analysis, secondary analysis of sociological data, all concerned with the discursive features of building a professional image of a medical worker. The lexico-semantic level is the richest in terms of the variety of techniques and tactics used for heroizing doctors. With the metaphorization "doctor is a hero," "pandemic is a war", and other comparisons of the COVID-19 pandemic with war, the doctor's image has become the most common means of presenting the medical image in the media. The syntactic level is built on the opposition "doctor – pandemic", "doctor – coronavirus", as well as in some sources "doctor – administration." In the media space, there is a convergence of the polarities "doctor – society" and "doctor – patient," which was previously observed only in the national media. On this basis, it is concluded that the discursive features of constructing the professional image of a medical worker are a key component of influencing public opinion, which is especially important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the use of media discourse as a tool for constructing a professional image, respect for medical workers increases, which has a positive effect not only on their professional identity and professional image, but also on improving the doctor-patient and doctor-society relations, increasing the prestige of the profession and the medical sphere in general.