Professional Objections and Healthcare: More Than a Case of Conscience

Ethics and Medicine 35 (3):149-160 (2019)
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While there is a prolific debate surrounding the issue of conscientious objection of individuals towards performing certain clinical acts, this debate ignores the fact that there are other reasons why clinicians might wish to object providing specific services. This paper briefly discusses the idea that healthcare workers might object to providing specific services because they are against their professional judgement, they want to maintain a specific reputation, or they have pragmatic reasons. Reputation here is not simply understood as being in good standing with a professional body. Rather, reputation is treated in the sense that a craftsman might wish to be known for providing a specific type, quality, and style of service. Professionalism is understood as acting according to the philosophical and scientific principles that are the basis of healthcare (such as acting for the benefit of the patient’s health and following well- evidenced treatment pathways).

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Michal Pruski
University of Manchester


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