The Ethical Self-Assessment showed that my personal ethical theory is very similar to the ethics of Immanuel Kant. I believe that the concepts of duty and conscience should guide my actions (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2001). Thus, I answered “always” to questions about my placing the interest of the patient or community over my personal interest and my observing respect for my organization, superior, staff, and colleagues.
My conviction that I have a specific duty to patients or anyone who need my help is the reason why I believe that overtreatment and undertreatment of patients are unacceptable, and that organizational policies and my personal actions should reflect such belief. I also consider it my duty to maintain confidentiality in matters concerning patients, since this confidentiality is the basis of a good professional relationship between patients and myself.
In this relation, I also believe that is the duty of all stakeholders, including Board members, to reveal potential conflicts of interest. This would evade conflict in the future and ensures that the best interest of all concerned is protected. In accordance with the deontological tradition of ethical philosophy, I believe that a person’s intent when he acts is relevant (Kemerling, 2001). I do not believe in the saying that the end justifies the means.
I do not find it relevant to look at the ultimate consequences of others’ actions, when I know that their intents were impure to begin with. These conclusions are based on my answers in the self-assessment, to the effect that I respect the autonomy of patients. This means that in any given situation where the patient expressed an intention, such as his refusal to be resuscitated when his heart fails, such desire or intention should be followed, because the power to decide for himself ultimately lies with that person.
Any person who acts as a medical professional has no right to intervene or do any act against the wishes of the patient, even if he is merely thinking of the best interests of that patient. Even if the patient would live as a result of resuscitation but it was performed despite a “Do not resuscitate” order, such good consequence would not factor in when the morality of the act is later determined. There should be respect for the autonomy of a patient, since he is a person who could decide for himself about matters concerning his life.
Reflecting upon my ethical beliefs based on the self-assessment, I realize that I have an unbendable philosophy with respect to the proper actions of a professional while in a working environment. I also believe that there should always be respect for others and for the institution that one works for. I also look at an action as either right or wrong, and such assessment is based, not on the consequences of the action concerned, but on the motive behind it and whether it reflects respect of another person.
Thus, in the self-assessment, I answered that I would encourage timely action that would serve the patient’s interest. This shows that I value another person’s life and I take it to be my duty to protect such life. Based on the self-assessment, I came to the conclusion that an organization needs to establish specific rules on matters falling within its area of operations.
While it is but natural for individuals to have different ethical philosophies, there is a need to have a specific ethical code that would guide persons working in a specific environment about proper conduct (Falconi, 2004). Indeed, there are many organizations that already adopted their customized code of ethics that are incorporated with their standard business practices. Thus, there is now the concept of “corporate social responsibility,” which is a measure designed to meet the societal needs of the business organization (L’Etang, 2003).