Ethics & Professionalism

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that addresses the concepts of right and wrong or good and evil. Applied ethics addresses practical, everyday issues. It is usually normative and thus aims to find the best possible answers to questions like: “Is this act or policy right or wrong?” Of course, life is often so complicated that simple answers cannot be provided. Then applied ethics can serve as a tool for clarifying the issue and for helping decision-making and account for these decisions even if there is no absolute right answer to be found.

It is important that we all start to think about what professionalism means. For me, professional behavior is context specific and requires us to act appropriately at all times and in all situations regardless of complexity. Being professional often requires us to make difficult judgment and requires us to challenge poor practice and unacceptable behaviors and attitudes. Being approachable, polite, courteous and respecting confidentiality and dignity are also essential behaviors.

Professional ethics provides us means to solve certain ethical problems related to a certain profession, in this case, health care. Professional ethics is usually presented as guidelines and rules, but it can be demanding to apply these to complex situations, that call for sensitivity to circumstances and the individuals in question. Thus, professional ethics cannot be only about abiding by the rules, but constant awareness to the rights and needs of the clients or patients, and critical thinking in the cross-fire of ethics, rules, conventions and difficulties of social interaction.



4 Replies to “Ethics & Professionalism”

  1. Hi there, as a fellow healthcare worker I understand the need for professional ethics within practice. The call for ethics to not be a set of rules and for ethics to rather be a conscientious approach to avoiding malpractice of patients is one I feel should be explored.Your insight into the difficulties faced by making ethics a set structure, highlight the confines of not making ethics a subjective, situation specific, multi-person debate into an ever changing environment.


    1. At first “Thank you” to read my post and also to give your opinion. In my post, I didn’t mention ethics is a set of rules or a structure that you said in your comment. I also agree with you that ethics to not be a set of rules and ethics to rather be a conscientious approach to avoiding malpractice of patient.


  2. Thanks for the good read. I enjoyed the structure of your piece and thought it flowed logically starting with defining ethics, then professionalism and then how they link together. Maybe try backing up some of your claims about ethics and professionalism with research. What does research say about the professionalism of a health student and is this different to the professionalism of a qualified clinician? Maybe share a bit about one of your own experiences when dealing with professional ethics in a practical setting.


    1. Thanks to read my post and leave a nice comment. Yes, it was my own concept about ethics and professionalism. I read some post of this blog that was not with references of research. I also think that it’s important to know what say research about this. So, in my upcoming post I will try to give research based information.


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