January 23, 2012
Professional Ethics Paper
Medical professionals have a responsibility to their clients to deliver safe, quality care with regard for patients’ individuality, needs, and desires. Patients seek out professional health care with their own goals in mind. Their goals may not match ours, but we as health care providers have a duty to inform and treat our clients with competence and afford them the utmost dignity and respect. In short, we must be ethical in our practice. We have an equal obligation to uphold the law. But law and ethics are not always synchronous. What may be legal in practice may be unethical; and what may seem the ethical choice may not be legal. We must strive to uphold both the law and code of ethics of our profession. The Relationship between Legal and Ethical Issues
Law is concerned with how we live; what we can and cannot do. Laws are rules governing conduct and offenses to these laws at times are punishable. Ethics is a system of values-based conduct. Ethics provides a framework from which to decide a course of action based on what is morally acceptable to an individual.
Some actions can be legal, but deemed unethical. In health care, a patient is afforded certain rights, such as the right to refuse treatment, even if the potential outcome results in the loss of his or her life. In such cases, health care providers may find themselves conflicted in their duties because of their own ethical values. However, we as health care providers must allow our patients to decide for themselves their course of treatment. This respect for a patient’s autonomy, or determination, is considered one of the foundational ethical principles in health care (Perry, Churchill, & Kirshner, 2005).
Personal Values and Professional Ethics
Values are that which is believed to be important to an individual or an organization....