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Medical Ethics: Ethics in Practice -The Obligations that Define a Profession

Overview
The use of the word ‘profession’ has expanded so far beyond its original meaning that a clear definition has become obscured and marred by colloquial usage. It is not uncommon to find the term ‘professional’ misused to describe sportsmen, tradesmen and even politicians. Yet, when we speak about a ‘professional’ there is a tacit understanding that only individuals engaged in certain occupations belong to that category: doctors, lawyers, teachers.
A fundamental distinction between a profession and any other occupation, is that individuals engaged in a profession have an ethical obligation to whomever they provide their services. In other words, a profession is required to have a Code of Ethics.
Unlike laws and regulations, which are prescriptive and rigid, the principles of ethics are flexible and how they are applied depends on the individual practitioner.
It is these responsibilities and expectations that are the hallmarks of a profession.


Author
Harry Rosen

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