Saturday, 7 January 2012

Professional morals and education

It is all so easy for members of the health professions to forget the true reason for their daily work routine. All health professionals are inexorably linked to the principles of patient primacy and the over-riding moral authority derived from the Hippocratic oath and related philosophies. Unfortunately financial matters and other conflicts have come to exert ever increasing pressures on practitioners in various fields. This has lead to a situation where the health of the patient is no longer the primary concern, but takes second place to career advancement, profiteering or a combination of both.

It is imperative that institutions of higher education place great emphasis on the creation of graduate professionals, that are not only of a high academic standard, but also of strong moral fibre. Such a task is no mean feat, as persuading students who are just about to attempt to establish a foothold in the societal rat-race, that principles are worth more than financial reward, is a tall order.

The first step in achieving the above is to have educators that practice and hold themselves to the same standards that students aspire to. As is often the case, remuneration within the academic world does enable universities to hold on to,or attract the best talent available. In certain cases it might make sense to utilise a system of visiting lecturers from various specialities, or create a pool of volunteers from leading professionals who would dedicate a certain amount of time to mentoring.

Attaining a high level of moral standards and ethical practice within the pharmacy profession will enable the possibility of self-regulation with respect to a multitude of issues that need to be approached. This in turn will create the opportunity to negotiate with other stakeholders and indeed patients themselves, from the vantage point of moral high ground.

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