Professionalism in Health Care: Methods, Nursing Ethics


Professionalism refers to the demonstrating characteristics and attributes that reflect the demands of a certain profession with certain goals in mind; this means that a professional should deliver his/her services differently from a person who works for pleasure at expense of commercial gain. The role of medical work professionals can be regarded as unique in that, “it serves as an interface with the community on one hand and the medical profession on the other” (Wear and Bickel, 2000, p. 35).

Health and human service delivery lie entirely in the medical field that is very sensitive as it deals with human life. Professionalism in health and human service delivery refers to a situation where the medical practitioner delivers his/services with due diligence, including the use of technology and proper consultation with his/her clients as well as other professionals in this field. This gives confidence to the patients that a competent person is attending them. Professionalism also requires the practitioner to demonstrate technical ability, teamwork, value for diversity, and customer service among others.

Health care refers to the preservation of mental and physical health by preventing or treating illness through services offered by the health profession while human service delivery refers to the methods that professional healthcare teams use to provide quality health service for the patients and between the staff (Woodside and McClam 2009). For a medical professional to attend to the public, he/she must be registered or a member of a professional medical body.

This essay will cover professionalism in health service delivery within a safe, ethical, and legal context, as well as mechanisms for monitoring behaviors of professionals and quality of health care.

Methods of Enhancing Professionalism in Health Care and Human Service Delivery

Good communication is a key to professional development and evidence-based health care. It starts with diligent consultation from the patient by the medical practitioner ensuring that the right prescriptions are given. The introduction of the internet is another key to good communication as it allows faster conveyance of medical information through websites that are accessible by clients, thus enhancing the service delivery in health care facilities.

Professionalism also includes the hiring of well-trained personnel in the relevant field. The professions that apply well in the field of health care and human service delivery include clinical doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, and lab technicians among others. This ensures that each case is referred to the specifically trained personnel to ensure perfect services are delivered (Makely, 2008).

Teamwork is another key aspect of healthcare. It refers to a situation where the employees work together in unity, consulting each other and ensuring that they run the firm as a group. Good management whereby employees are given the freedom to be self-driven at work by ensuring minimum supervision usually brings this about.

Providing Quality Care and Service

Health care and human service delivery should be offered in a safe, ethical, and legal context, in an individual and interprofessional framework. Safe, in the context that the services rendered should improve rather than deteriorate the health of the clients. For example, the staff members should be healthy and trustworthy; the environment should be clean, etc. Ethical means that no procedure goes against the client’s believes and legal means that the practices comply with the government laws.

According to (McConnell, 2007), nurses are the personnel in most medical institutions that take care of the patients. They give the patients medicine according to the doctor’s prescription, take care of the patients who are in critical conditions, listen to the patients to ensure that they are comfortable among others.

Nevertheless, every health center should have all kinds of medical professionals to ensure quality services are rendered. This is because each person have specialized in a specific area ensuring that, all cases can be attended to. For a nurse to offer quality services, he/she must possess the following attributes among others (McConnell, 2007).

Sexual integrity: The nurse should not feel stigmatized by gender-related stereotypes. He/she should be comfortable with her feminist or masculinity so as to be able to relate well with the patients by first appreciating him/herself.

Hygiene: The nurse should be able to maintain hygiene in their place of work, thus making it possible for them to forward this attribute to their clients. When injuries occur in the place of work, treatment should be readily available for the nurses. Glove and other bodily coverings should be available in the work place to protect the staff. Products should be available for staff to use for clients tested with allergic conditions.

Tenderness: The nurses should be receptive to acts of kindness in the work place. They should portray kindness in dealing with colleagues, coworkers, clients, their families and administrative personnel.

When considering quality service, the staff should also think about the community they are serving. This is because different communities are diverse in cases of culture, religion, lifestyle, etc. Health workers should be careful to learn what happens where in order to save communities that are undertaking unhealthy practices. They should also be conversant with the law to ensure that whatever they practice do not go contrary to the law. In addition, financial gain must never override the duty of care, thus health practitioner must always put professionalism before any pursuit of business in healthcare (Cohn and Hough, 2008).

Individuals as well as organizations are encouraged to take medical covers to ensure that one gets quality medical attention all the time. Most of the people in less developed countries as well as some in first world countries have a risk of failing to access quality medical care due to their poor economic empowerment. In such situations, it is necessary for a person to take medical cover to ensure that he/she is well covered at times of illness.

Professionalism in Radiography

Radiography is one of the inclusions that have lead to professional development in health care and human service development (Nixon, 2001). It refers to the process whereby, instead of making photographs using visible light as usual, images are produced on radiosensitive surfaces using radiation. Recent developments have improved profession since radiographers as opposed as to medical practitioners and physists who used to do it in the past currently do research in radiography

Nursing Ethics

This refers to the rule of conduct that nurses are expected to observe. There is usually a document known as the code of ethics whereby rules are put down, which are intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of nurses. Many countries have codes of ethics defined by health care professionals for ethical guidance. These codes indicate the values of the profession and inform professionals about how they should act based on those values (Woodside and McClam, 2009). Among others, there is also the International Council of Nurses’ code of ethics and European nurse code of ethics drawn by European Federation of Nursing Regulators in 2008 to protect European citizens.

Ethical Problems in Health Care Management

Also referred to as ethical challenge or ethical distress in health care management. Ethical problems in health care management are the difficult issues that health care professionals face requiring a moral solution (Aitamaa, Leino-Kilpi, Puukka and Suhonen, 2010). It is a dilemma experienced between the norms and values of nurses and those of other people. The problems may be new and unfamiliar, but they can also be recurring day-to-day issues.

Ethical problems in health care management can be classified into those related to patient care, staff, and the organization. Concerning patient care, the major ethical problems are issues of developing and maintaining the quality of care. Most staff experience widespread disappointment with the quality of service provided by health care organizations whereby they fail to provide services of the highest quality. They also face a challenge when there is disagreement between them and patients and their families on the mode of treatment and medication (McConnell, 2007).

In staff related ethical problem, employee relation seems to be the most common difficulty. It has been found that there has been a major problem in the relationship between the nurses and other health care professionals. Other problems include lack of competency among staff and selection of employees.

The major organization based ethical problems are conflict between the administrative role and professional role and allocation of scarce human resource leading to overworking or failing to deliver quality services to the clients. Professionally, staffs are trained to provide high quality care for all patients while in almost all cases, the employer aims at quick and economically effective service leading to lower staff costs thus resulting into an ethical conflict. Resource allocation is another common ethical problem whereby nurses’ managers feel devalued and powerless since they are not given a chance to contribute in this area.

They feel that the senior administration or the organization is unjust since the needs of the organization always outweigh the rights of the individuals. Other ethical challenges among nurses are negative publicity that can damage public confidence in an organization (Aitamaa, Leino-Kilpi, Puukka, and Suhonen, 2010)

Mechanisms by Which Health and Human Service Professionals’ Behaviors Are Monitored

In most countries, health care and human service professionals are monitored using the code of ethics (Aitamaa, Leino-Kilpi, Puukka, and Suhonen, 2010). It provides ethical guidance by showing the values of the profession and how professionals should act upon those values. The management personnel who ensure that the staffs are working in accordance with the regulations laid do monitoring in other cases (McConnell, 2007). The ministry concerned with health care is not left behind in monitoring practices to ensure that its citizens are getting quality services. The media houses also play a great role in monitoring health professional and notifying the right channels when need arises.

How Monitoring Contributes To Quality Improvement Mechanisms

The code of ethics of the health care professionals contains all that pertains to their profession of which adhering to it leads to quality services. In addition, all the above mentioned monitoring bodies ensures that the staff deliver quality services to be on the safer side all the time and especially for security of their jobs. This is because monitoring is done randomly without notice (Funk, 2003).


Professionalism is very vital in any health care organization. If all healthcare staffs worked professionally, there will be no misunderstanding between them and the patients, media, government, or any other monitoring body. They should be able to work within their code of ethics without any influence from other sectors of the economy. Healthcare is one sector that requires a lot of professionalism especially because it involves taking care of people as well as restoring individuals’ health. The values and attitudes of health care professionals may vary but they should be in harmony with the practice of healing and medicine. Honesty, integrity, reliability, and courtesy are some of the values that are indispensable as far as professionalism in health care is concerned.


Aitamaa, E., Leino-Kilpi, H., Puukka, P. and Suhonen, R. (2010). Ethical problems in nursing management: The role of codes of ethics. Nursing Ethics, 17(4), 469–482. Web.

Cohn, K. and Hough, D. E. (2008). The Business of Healthcare Practice Management. OH, Greenwood Publishing Group.

Funk, M. et al. (2003). Quality Improvement for Mental Health. NY, World Health Organization.

Makely, S. (2008). Professionalism in health care: A primer for Career Success. Third Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.

McConnell, C. R. (2007). The Effective Health Care Supervisor. Edition 6. MA, Johns & Bartlett Learning.

Nixon, S. (2001). Professionalism in radiography. RADIOGRAPHY, 7(1), 31-5.

Wear, D. and Bickel, J. W. (2000). Educating fro Professionalism: Creating a Culture of Humanism in Medical Education. Iowa, University of Iowa Press.

Woodside, M. and McClam, T. (2008). An Introduction to Human Service. Edition 6. NY, Cengage Learning.

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