Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice: Professional Identity of Nurse

It is difficult to estimate the importance of ethical background in the health care system. Values and ethics create the professional identity of a nurse, influence the relations with patients, communication with colleagues, and as the result determine the quality of the provided medical services. For the current research the competency domain about values and ethics for interprofessional practice was chosen.

This theme is not fully implemented in the contemporary American health care system, but its importance is already proven. The educators and the scholars claim that without clear understanding of ethics and values of medical practitioners a person can not become a real professional (Baldwin, 2006, pp. 103-104). The urgency of the issue of ethics and values in interprofessional medical practice and its importance in the formation process of a professional are the main reasons that determine the choice of theme for further investigation.

There are several means of improving the interprofessional collaborative practice in the domain of ethics and values. The first method is setting the positive example. The experience shows that every person should start form him/herself in changing the environment. McNair (2005, pp. 458-459) calls it the virtues in common approach. It is based on the assumption that regular demonstration of the right patient-centered ethical values is more efficient than theoretical lectures about them. The second recommendation that might be useful in implementing ethical principles in practice is gradual changing of the key values among the healthcare personnel. The changes should be based upon the assumption that healthcare is a right of all people, and it exists because people need it. The idea might seem simple, but it is the stumbling stone in the majority of cases when medical ethics is violated (Berwick et al., 2001, pp. 617-618).

The traditions are strong and it might be difficult to change the ethical background in the organization quickly. The changes in the system of values should be gradual. In the situations when there is an ethical dilemma the medical personnel might prioritize their own interests and disregard the interests of the patient. At the same time, the desires of some patient sometimes contradict the overall plan of treatment. For example, when an obese person who suffers from heart problems and has to keep to a strict diet wants to eat fast food, that is absolutely forbidden, the interests of the patient are dubious. From one point of view, the main interest of every patient is to become healthy and follow the recommendations of the physician. From another point of view, this patient does not want to keep the regime and claims that the medical personnel deprives him/her of basic rights.

It is possible to assume that when all people who are involved into the health care system share the same patient-centered values the initiative of implementing value and ethics in interprofessional practice can be called successful. Integration of every person who is involved into the procedure into the team is among the most evident issues that show that the theory works. Such team work supposes professional exchanges of experiences between the medical personnel, efficient communication between the doctors and the nurses, active cooperation with the patients and involvements of the relatives of the patients. All these components create a healthy environment in the medical institution, help the patients believe that the doctors are doing everything possible to save their lives and health, and so are also interested in the cooperation. As the result, the work might be done on the higher level, and everything might contribute to the creation of the mutual trust and respect.



Baldwin, D. C. Jr. (2006). Two faces of professionalism. In K. Parsi & Sheehan, M. N. (eds.). Healing as vocation: A medical professional primer. Lanham, New York: Rowman & Littlefield.


Berwick, D., Davidoff, F., Hiatt, H., & Smith, R. (2001). Refining and implementing the Tavistock principles for everybody in health care. BMJ, 323, 616-620.


McNair, R.P. (2005). The case for educating health care students in professionalism as the core content of interprofessional education. Medical Education, 39, 456-464.

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