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Title: The good health care professional : a critique of Edmund Pellergrino's approach to essentialist medical ethics and the virtues
Author: Newham, Roger Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 0628
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2011
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In England, medical, nursing and other healthcare professions are required by their codes of professional ethics to have a working knowledge of moral principles and to be able to apply them in practice. Little, if anything, is said explicitly by these professions about the virtues. However, much is said about the character of the doctor or the nurse, and their supposed ability to recognise moral issues in their professional work and make morally good decisions. Edmund Pellegrino has questioned the appropriateness of applying moral principles to medical practice in contemporary times without a firm foundation. He attempts to restore the moral foundation of the profession of medicine, by restricting an account of the good to the profession which he claims, unlike ethics in general, there can be agreement on norms. From this position, moral principles in medical ethics can be justified, agreed upon, and provide firm action guidance in practice, as well as provide an independent ground for medical virtues. I will claim that Pellegrino's concern about disagreement and a loss of norms in ethics in general is not resolved in the restricted field of professional medical ethics and that his understanding of principles and the link with virtue is confused. Then, using virtue terms Pellegrino himself thinks necessary for making good decisions in practice, I will show how a certain account of the virtues can provide a plausible account of how we can become good healthcare workers and so support Pellegrino's goal; though it will not support his confidence in supplying both clear, moral, and normative constraints in a code of professional medical ethics and firm decision-making in practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medicine, Internal morality