The paper presents analyses conducted on a corpus of (audio) recorded and fully transcribed doctor-patient interactions with native and non native patients, carried on in a outward department of Obstetrics and Gynechology in a public hospital in Italy. The focus is on the doctors’ strategies employed to elicit information from the patients with particular regards to the patient’s job status and the likelihood that she continues to work during pregnancy. Applying CA principles to the analysis of both the sequential structure and the design of the question, the author highlights how the activity of questioning about the patient’s job includes larger sequences with non native patients as compared to native patients, in which not only the patient’s physical conditions but also her juridical status is questioned. The paper finally discusses the implications of the analyses on the doctors’ training on one hand, and on the social representation of the migrant identity on the other.
Keywords: Questioning, nonnative patient, job status, pregnancy, Conversation Analysis (CA)