Ethics and Professionalism Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-14
Ethics and Professionalism Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Medicine Professional development Business ethics
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 639 words
6 min read

Today, challenges in healthcare in areas of disease prevention, health promotion, and health policy development continue to rise in complexity and scope. The new technology, globalization, emerging of infectious diseases and the rising gap between the rich and the less fortunate prompt health practitioners to ask on what is likely to be the right thing on their process of decision making towards the health of the public. While there might be a close link between ethics and professionalism, the two terms are not interchangeable. Many ethics of healthcare pertain directly to professionalism, but not everything in ethics is about professionalism and not everything in professionalism gives rise to matters of ethical concern. The paper, therefore, explores how ethics and professionalism conflict with each other in a healthcare setting.

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Conflict of interest is one way through which ethics and professionalism may conflict with each other. In healthcare, Conflict of interest is a state in which professional judgment concerning primary interest such as patient care, research and education are unduly inclined by a secondary interest such as financial gain, promotion, etc (Messis, 2011). most of the pharmaceutical companies that produce medical devices are under scrutiny due to the influence their marketing practices may have on the management decisions of patients made by healthcare professionals. Policies to reshape the relationship between the healthcare provider and such industries have been developed so as to avoid potential conflicts of interest taking place in health practice. However, a conflict arises when there is a need for maintaining the trust of the public while refraining from questionable professional conduct. While the best interest of the patient seems to be served due to new drugs or devices, there is deriving of financial benefit from the healthcare professional or from the pharmaceutical company.

Informed consent brings about a conflict between ethics and professionalism. From the ethical code of healthcare professionals, patients have the right of knowing the truth about their medical state and can decide on any treatment option (Worthington, 2015). To allow the patient to make an informed choice, information must be sufficient and understandable. However, an ethical and legal dilemma arises when there are differing opinions on appropriate care between the healthcare provider and the patient. Here, a healthcare professional is torn between beneficence ethics and the autonomy of having respect to the wishes of the patient.

Professionalism and ethics conflict each other in areas of data privacy. In accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), it is essential to protect the privacy of the patient. Healthcare professionals have a role to play of knowing and following HIPPA laws which they must not disclose any information of the patient. They are not expected to violate the trust of the patient even when the patient dies (Agich, 2015). Doing so may result in litigation, huge fines and even jail time. Additionally, care access poses a conflict between professionalism and ethics. It becomes challenging when one wants to strike a balance between quality care and efficiency. Healthcare professionals struggle to assist clients lacking the resources necessary for covering up their treatment due to pressure from the administration of the facility, insurance organizations and managed care companies which constrain further on treatment and prescription choices.

Every day, Healthcare professionals confront ethical dilemmas routinely in a healthcare setting. Although professionalism may continue to give a useful framework for current practice, it risks being demoralized through pressures that continue to manifest themselves in daily medical practice. Therefore, there is a need to address the existing conflict between medical professionalism and ethics that it embodies.


Agich, G. J. (2016). Professionalism and ethics in health care. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 5(3), 186-99.

Messis, C. (2011). Ethical Issues (conflict of interest) between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry.

Worthington, R. P. (2015). Ethics and professionalism in a changing world. Investigacion en Educacion Medica, 4(15), 175-178.

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