Publications (4)13.74 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: Because of the necessity for morality and virtue in the practice of medicine, ethical leadership becomes a fundamental obligation of the profession in its relations with the society it serves. Ethical leadership entails leading others in setting standards of, and therefore defining, moral or acceptable behaviour. Leaders must act in conformity with these accepted standards as they carry out the activities mandated by society. This paper examines the primary sources of ethical leadership in the medical profession. Historically, professional associations and medical licensing bodies have been allocated the most important responsibility for providing this leadership. When the public felt that such leadership was being exerted, trust in the profession remained high and when this leadership has been seen to falter, trust has fallen. There have traditionally been additional sources of ethical leadership with editorials in medical journals having a powerful role. Medical schools also can be a source of leadership as can the academic community outside of medicine - particularly bioethics and sociology. Finally, individuals of great stature, no matter what their role in society, are capable of offering guidance and support for the value base of medicine.
Article: Renewing professionalism[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In recent decades, both the concept and the performance of professionals have been widely questioned. Professionalism and the idea of service have been placed under intense pressure, but they have survived. Medicine may now have an opportunity to reestablish itself as a respected, influential, and useful profession in Western society. The authors believe this could occur (1) because of the strength of the democratic process and the place of organized medicine within it; (2) because medicine's role as a source of relatively impartial expertise is being reestablished (because medicine no longer controls the health care system); and (3), most important, because of the importance of the individual physician as healer in both society's view of medicine and medicine's view of itself. To take advantage of this opportunity, the authors offer several recommendations, including (1) that medicine must continue current efforts to place first the doctor-patient relationship (the role of the healer) and the idea of service in redefining and fulfilling its obligations to society; (2) that there be a comprehensive education campaign to help physicians understand professionalism and its obligations (which the authors define); and (3) that physicians should assume responsibility for their local and national associations. If the individual medical professional and all the institutions connected with the practice and teaching of medicine truly understand and seek to fulfill their contracts with society and the obligations derived from these, the morality inherent in medical professionalism can be a dominant force, and better health care will result.
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
- Centre for Medical Education