Traditionally, the code of ethics for health educators is based on certain responsibilities to the public, employees, and their students. First, we should speak about the liability to community. In this respect, it is quite possible for us to say that their main task is to make public interests the highest priority for their students who should carry out their professional duties with the sense of honor and dedication to truth and always act in behalf of their patients (AAHE, 1). This principle often presents medical workers with certain difficulties, which will be further discussed.
In this respect, it should be pointed out that there are several cooperation models between the practitioner and the patient. Traditionally, it is believed that the patient must be an active participant; he or she must be fully informed about the decisions and his or her opinion must never be disregarded. Nevertheless, there has always been a heated discussion as to which form of collaboration is the most efficient (Greenberg, 23).
Furthermore, health educators are answerable for the image of a medical worker. They should impart not only practical skills but certain ethical values and decision-making skills that are essential for any practitioner as well. Physicians have to face many moral dilemmas, and it is of the crucial importance for them to be ready for them. Apart from that, they should also stimulate professional growth of their students, for instance, by encouraging their research activities.
As regards their liability to employers, we can single out the following aspects: first, health educators must accurately measure the scope of their competence and make sure that skills they impart to their students are evidence-based. Any mistake of a teacher (and subsequently of his or her student) may imperil the life of a patient. Secondly, it is also worth mentioning that people, who train medical workers, should develop shape qualities of their students, such as integrity, impartiality, honesty.
One should also take into consideration that there are also general pedagogical principles that health care educators should adhere to. For instance, they have no right to assume a prejudiced attitude against any of their students. They must also be objective while assessing their progress. However, their main responsibility is to provide them with adequate and quality educational services, which may further allow them to improve their professional skills.
To a certain degree, the ethical code of health care providers is more complicated. First, they should establish effective code of cooperation, with the patient. It is argued that he or she should be fully aware of the decisions, made by the practitioner. However, it is not always possible to do it, because under certain circumstances, the disclosure of such information may have detrimental effects on his or her physical and emotional health (Vetch, 142).
In addition to that, a medical physician often has to play the role of a technical expert, the person, who only informs the patient about his or her physical health, whereas his judgment is virtually ignored. The main problem is that patients are not competent enough to make decisions about their treatment. It is the duty of a health care provider not act in the patients best interests, but such notion as the best interests often can be interpreted from several standpoints, people, especially doctors and patients do not always share common views on this issue.
Therefore, we can draw a conclusion that there is some inconsistency between the ethics of health educators and that one of medical workers. The educators teach their students to act in the behalf of the patients, but physicians are not always permitted to do it. The main problem, which remains to be solved, is cooperation between the patient and the medical worker.
American Association for Health Education (2000). The Code of Ethics for Health Educators. Web.
Beech, M. (2007). Confidentiality in health care: conflicting legal and ethical issues. Nursing Standard, 21(21), 42-6.
Elger, B. S. & Chevorlet, J.C. (2000). Beneficence today, or autonomy (maybe) tomorrow? The Hastings Center Report 30 (1), 18.
Jerrold S. Greenberg(2002). The Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession: A Case Study Book. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Robert M. Veatch (1997). Medical Ethics. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.