PHYSICIAN’S CODE OF ETHICS AND HEALTH EDUCATOR’S CODE OF ETHICS Physician’s Code of Ethics and Health Educator’s Code of Ethics are both governed by the basic principles of ethics are beneficence, non-malfeasance, justice, and autonomy or individual freedom. Beneficence refers to doing good and producing good especially performing acts of kindness and charity. All health related professions are expected to promote beneficence as a core value in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.
According to Littleton, Meemon, Breen, Seblega, Paek, Loyal, Elis, & Wan, co-authors of “An Ethical Analysis of Professional Codes in Health and Medical Care”, beneficence is strongly tied with the Utilitarian Theory which advocates the largest balance of pleasure over pain and the attainment of the highest good to the largest number of people. Non-malfeasance on the other hand, is a direct contrary of beneficence. It is a value which promotes as its highest good “not to do harm.
” In the context of medical health care and health care education, non-malfeasance encourages doctors and educators to do more good than harm to its patients and students. Next is justice, which focuses on how fairly or unfairly actions distribute benefits to members of a group. This value promotes equality as opposed to bias. Finally, autonomy, which is defined in general as the “personal rule of the self that is free from both controlling interferences by others and from personal limitations that prevent meaningful choice.
” Autonomous individuals act intentionally, with understanding, and without controlling influences (Anonymous, 2008). In the context of health education, autonomy is respected both by the teachers and the students, this is also the case in medical health settings wherein the doctor’s and patient’s autonomy are both recognized. Both the Codes of Ethics of health educators and physicians require the promotion and respect for their profession and professionalism.
Health educators, as well as physicians are responsible for their professional behavior, for the reputation of their profession, and for promoting ethical conduct among their colleagues. The Codes of ethics of both the said health professions give importance to furthering their knowledge and wisdom in their chosen path thru education. Health educators are encouraged to undergo preparation and training to properly perform their obligation to accord learners the same respect and treatment given other groups by providing quality education that benefits the profession and the public (Anonymous, 2008).
On the other hand, the Code of Ethics for Physicians provides that “A physician shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge, maintain a commitment to medical education, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public, obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated” (Anonymous, 2011).
While the Code of Ethics for medical practice advocates providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights, the Code of Ethics for Health Education promote integrity in the delivery of health education and is dedicated to excellence in the practice of promoting individual, family, organizational and community health. While doctors should master in providing the best possible health care to their patients, educators should master in providing the best possible education to their students who are going to be medical practitioners in the future.
The physician’s primordial and paramount ethical obligation pertains to his patients. As a doctor, his responsibility revolves mainly around the development or the improvement of his patient’s health. Medical educators on the other hand, have dual ethical obligations: firstly, to the society at large which expects us to produce competent health professionals, and secondly, to the students under our care. The students observe and copy what their teacher does and his/her role modelling can be a gateway to a student’s character building (Anonymous, 2008).
In addition, Doctors are compelled to respect the doctrine of confidentiality and privacy towards his patients. Thus, any information gathered or collected by the physician with respect to the patient in the process of evaluation and treatment, shall stay private and cannot be divulged to any one or at any time, without the consent or permission of the patient. This medical doctrine has its roots from The Oath of Hippocrates which states that “What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread, I will keep to myself . . .
(Manning)” No such doctrine binds or affects health educators. Although both professions mentioned above are governed by different Code of Ethics, doctors and health educators goes hand in hand in promoting good health and health awareness to the public. Both aims to take medical education and practice to the next level.
REFERENCES: Anonymous. (2008). Autonomy vs. Beneficence. Retrieved from: http://missinglink. ucsf. edu/lm/ethics/content%20pages/fast_fact_auton_bene. htm. Anonymous. (2008). Health Education Code of Ethics. Retrieved from: http://www. nchec. org/credentialing/ethics/. Anonymous. (2001). Principles of Medical Ethics.
Retrieved from: http://www. ama-assn. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/principles-medical-ethics. page?. Littleton, V. , Meemon, N. , Breen, G-M. , Seblega, B. et al. (2010, Spr. ). An ethical analysis of professional codes in health and medical care. Ethics & Medicine, 26(1), 25-49. Manning,W. , Privacy and Confidentiality in Clinical Data Management Systems: Why You Should Guard the Safe. Retrieved from: http://www. netreach. net/~wmanning/cdm. htm Singh, A. (2010). Ethics for Medical Educators: An Overview and Fallacies. Retrieved from: http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122542/.