Professional competence and palliative care: an ethical perspective.
SourceJournal of Palliative Care, 19, 3, (2003), pp. 192-197
Article / Letter to editor
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Ethics, Philosophy, History of Medical Sciences
Journal of Palliative Care
SubjectCentre for Ethics; EBP 4: Quality of Care
The aim of this article is to explore an ethical view of professional competence by examining the professional competence of physicians in the context of palliative care. A discussion of the four dimensions of professional competence--knowledge, technical skills, relationships, and affective and moral attitude--leads us to the conclusion that "habits of mind" are important in every aspect of professional competence. This observation is then considered in the context of virtue ethics and ethics of care. Virtue ethics focuses on personal qualities and moral attitudes, while the ethics of care concentrates on the way these qualities are lived out in specific care relationships. Our conclusion points up the importance of education in ethics in the development of professional competence, and argues that because palliative care involves intense human interactions, integrating palliative care into the medical curriculum may improve the ethical culture of health care as a whole.
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