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    The ethics of care for technicians

    I have often wondered why there are a limited number of ethics classes available for technical staff to take.

    While the doctors have the Hippocratic oath that binds them to their areas of practice, where is the “oath” that the technical staff takes to ensure we are all working under the same premise?

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    We know that our role is to ensure that the patient is protected, physically cared for, and that all patient-facing caregivers are responsible to ensure that we always “do the right thing” when it comes to their care. But where do these tenets come from and what do they actually mean to us?

    Defining ethics

    According to the Oxford Dictionary, ethics are the “moral principles that govern a person's or group’s behavior.”

    Ethics deal with right and wrong types of behavior—what we “ought” to do. Ethics are a set of moral principles and the code of behavior that governs an individual’s actions with other individuals in a society. We need to be aware that ethics can, and do, differ among cultures.

    Laws are not ethics. Laws are society rules that have defined punishments for violations; ethics do not have established punishments.

    Every day, whether at work or during our normal day, we are put in the position to determine what is right and wrong about a given situation or behavior.

    Medical ethics are simply ethics as they are applied to medicine.

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    Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, authors of Principles of Biomedical Ethics, determined that medical ethics work with the principles of autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-malfeasance.


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