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Professional ethics - Essay Example

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Ethics is the moral principles that guide the behavior of an individual, group or society. Professional ethics are therefore the…
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Professional ethics
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Professional Ethics A profession is an occupation where the members have specialized training in a specific field so as to provide the best service to the society. Ethics is the moral principles that guide the behavior of an individual, group or society. Professional ethics are therefore the guidelines to members of a certain profession and show how they are to conduct themselves in the process of conducting their professional duties. They act as a form of guideline to the members of a given profession, showing what the professionals can and cannot do during the course of conducting their duties. The professional ethics usually go in line with the moral ethics, placing expectations to the members of the profession to act in a morally permissible manner.
Examples of common professional ethics that cut across all professions include loyalty, transparency, integrity, honesty, among others. Some professionals such as medical practitioners have their own universal code of ethics which are observed world-wide by all the members of that profession. All medical doctors have to abide to the ‘Hippocratic oath’, which is their universal form of professional ethics.
Professional ethics are very important not only for the professionals but also for the members of the public. They place some responsibilities on members of a certain profession in line with the training and expectations of the society from the professions. For example, professional ethics of a police officer give him or her responsibility of maintaining law and order, preventing crime and ensuring the general wellbeing of the society. It would thus be against the professional ethics of a police officer if a crime is committed in his presence and the officer does not respond to the situation. On the contrary, an ordinary citizen or member of another profession who has no training in law enforcement will not be held responsible for being unable to stop a crime in progress as that is not his/her responsibility.
Professional ethics also aid in ensuring optimum service delivery by members of a profession by maintaining discipline within the profession. For example, professional ethics expect members of a profession always to strive to deliver as per the main objectives of the profession without looking at monetary gain. This means that for one to be a member of a given profession, he or she must have a passion and will to serve the people as per what the society expects of them without looking at how much he/she will gain from doing so. For example, it is professional ethics that make a police officer to refuse a bribe to set a criminal free.
Professional ethics give members of a profession the autonomy to use their discretion when performing their professional duties as long as it is for the ultimate good of the clients or society at large. They allow the members of the profession to use reason, past experiences and best practices as they execute their duties, as long as they maintain professionalism.
Most professions have punishments against the members of the profession found to have gone against their recognized professional ethics. These sanctions are a way of discouraging other members from going against the professional ethics and in so doing preserve the dignity and integrity of the profession. Professions will strive to ensure that the members of that profession abide by the guidelines of the professional ethics at all times, even when away from their workstations.
Professional ethics are an integral part of any profession and should thus be upheld and adhered to at all cost to preserve the integrity of a profession and ensure efficient attainment of professional goals and objectives.
Banks, S. (2004) Ethics, Accountability and the Social Professions, Basingstoke: Palgrave
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