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Investigación en educación médica

versión On-line ISSN 2007-5057


WORTHINGTON, Roger P.. Ethics and professionalism in a changing world. Investigación educ. médica [online]. 2015, vol.4, n.15, pp.175-178. ISSN 2007-5057.

While medicine is in a fairly constant state of change, the same could be said about the organisation and provision of healthcare, which can lead to conflicting obligations as regard ethics, professionalism and the standards to which clinicians are generally held to account. Additional complexity arises if there is confusion as to what these two domains comprise, and while there is plenty of literature on ethics and professionalism in medicine, much less has been written about the relationship between them. A lay observer could be forgiven for having little sense of where one ends and the other begins. It is also possible that few practicing professionals have pondered specifically on these issues, and not only should it help educators (whose task it is to design, implement and assess programmes and curricula) to have greater clarity on these issues, but it could potentially be of benefit to patients as well.

Ethics and professionalism are not the same, even though they are closely connected. If ethics and professionalism are to become part of the DNA of practicing clinicians, it should be clear to everyone of what the domains comprise, and what the terminology means. This could make a difference in how doctors behave towards each other, and more importantly, towards their patients; attitudes define behaviours, which in turn influence the way in which individual episodes of care are given, so this is far more than simply a question of semantics.

Palabras clave : Ethics; Professionalism; Medicine; Culture; Healthcare.

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