I love ethics classes, conferences, seminars and all. I find they make me think, consider and examine my own personal ethics and that is never a bad thing. I have, through the years, found that one’s personal ethics must be guarded continuously. Once we make the first compromise, they become easier and easier to “justify” more compromises and harder to reverse cou. Soon, we have sacrificed our ethics, our integrity, our morals, our self-respect, ourselves. Even worse, the compromise often involves money or some sin we have grown to cherish more than our self-respect. Money doesn’t care one patootie about you. It is as happy with the next person as it is with you. Money is not the root of all evil; the love of money is the root of all evil.
I realized while going through the Intellipath assignments that I needed to expand the thoughts on my topic. My goal is to be thorough yet look at as many sides as possible, uh, in the number of pages allotted. I also hope to write this without injecting my own opinion but present the issue in such a manner that a person will form their own opinion or at the very least, have a better understanding of the issues involved with extending life support in a brain dead patient.
Four things are paramount in healthcare – knowledge, experience, skill, and ethics. Knowledge we gain in class and in practice; experience we gain with time and practice; skill comes with applying the knowledge and experience; and ethics? Well, hopefully we had that all along and only strengthen it.
A good superior knows the people under him or her. They also know who they can count on and, generally, who is ethical and who they are cautious with. Poor managers are easily manipulated by unethical and selfish subordinates. Sadly, they don’t even realize it. Good managers staunchly guard their ethics while poor managers disregard them or act like they don’t realize ethics exist.
Years ago, I was working in research. A complaint was made that I had made an investment in one of the companies we were working with on a new device. The Office of Research Integrity contacted me that they wanted to audit my studies – I had about 12 open at the time. I was found clean on all my studies. I was informed later that the investigator had met with my direct boss and the director. She beat around the bush for a bit then told them that a complaint had been made about my and that I was being investigated for unethical actions in a research study. The director laughed and told her to investigate me all she wanted. He knew me that well. That made my day – to know that my work ethics were recognized by those above me. I also reinforced my personal resolve to guard my ethics. The odd thing is this: It is OK to have an investment in a company for whom you are performing research – all you need to do is make open disclosure. The complaint was bogus and the complaining party lost a promotion they were seeking. Be sure your sins . . . .
I believe that if you are ethical before this class, you will be ethical after this class. If you weren’t ethical before this class, it is my hope that you are after. Ethics can’t be legislated just as morals cannot be legislated. Saying you are ethical means nothing, it is your actions and behavior. Your reputation is how you behave when people see, your character is how you behave when (you think) no one sees. Which are you?