How virtue ethics informs medical professionalism

McCammon, S.D., Brody, H.
Submitted: December, 2012

We argue that a turn toward virtue ethics as a way of understanding medical professionalism represents both a valuable corrective and a missed opportunity. We look at three ways in which a closer appeal to virtue ethics could help address current problems or issues in professionalism education-first, balancing professionalism training with demands for professional virtues as a prerequisite; second, preventing demands for the demonstrable achievement of competencies from working against ideal professionalism education as lifelong learning; and third, avoiding temptations to dismiss moral distress as a mere “hidden curriculum” problem. As a further demonstration of how best to approach a lifelong practice of medical virtue, we will examine altruism as a mean between the extremes of self-sacrifice and selfishness.

Resource Type:
  • Commentaries & Blogs
  • Medical Ethics
  • Definitions & Frameworks
  • Curriculum & Medical Teaching