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Ethics in Professional Life

Ethics in Professional Life

Sarah Banks | Ann Gallagher


Additional Information

Book Details


What does it mean to be a good professional? What is the role of courage in professional life? How do we develop the moral qualities of respectfulness, justice and care?
Firmly rooted in practice, this book is a timely exploration of the nature and value of a virtue-based approach to ethics in health and social care.
Skilfully drawing on relevant moral philosophical literature, Part I offers a clear yet critical account of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics bases ethical evaluations on the moral qualities or character traits of professional practitioners. This approach, the authors argue, is a vital counter-balance to the recent emphasis in professional ethics on the regulation of conduct by rules and procedures.
Part II explores the key virtues of professional wisdom, courage, respectfulness, care, trustworthiness, justice and integrity. Each chapter starts with examples from practice and ends with strategies for cultivating these key virtues in education and practice.

Ethics in Professional Life is a challenging and original text that is ideal reading for all students, practitioners and academics in the field of health and social care.

'Students will find this text invaluable in attempting to demystify the complexities of this theoretical viewpoint. It is a much needed alternative to the more traditional four principle based paradigm' - Julie Woodley, University of West England, UK

"The authors have been very successful in tackling an interesting and potentially valuable approach to furthering understanding of ethics in professional practice"- Janice Wood-Harper, University of Salford, UK

Firmly rooted in practice, this book is a timely exploration of the nature and value of a virtue-based approach to ethics in health and social care. We hear the voices of practitioners and service users speaking about their everyday encounters and ethical challenges, and strategies for cultivating these virtues in education and practice.
SARAH BANKS is Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, UK and is co-editor of the journal, Ethics and Social Welfare. She has researched and published extensively in the field of professional ethics, particularly in relation to social, community and youth work. 
ANN GALLAGHER is Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George's University of London. She is a member of several clinical and research ethics committees and of the editorial and advisory boards of Nursing Ethics and Ethics and Social Welfare. Her research and publications are in the field of applied and professional ethics.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Contents v
List of tables ix
List of vignettes x
Preface xii
Acknowledgements xiv
Introduction 1
The rationale for the book 2
Professional practitioners in health and social care, with particular reference to nursing and social work in Britain 3
The virtues and professional life 7
Outline of the book 7
1 The domain of professional ethics 11
Introduction 11
A preview: vignettes from practice 11
The nature of professional ethics 13
Vulnerability, dependency and power 18
The ground of professional ethics: intrinsic goals and service ideals 20
Service ideals as regulative, rhetorical and aspirational 22
'Health' and 'social welfare' as regulative ideals 23
Concluding comments 27
2 Virtue ethics and professional life 28
Introduction 28
Virtue theory and virtue ethics 28
The early development of virtue ethics 29
The decline of virtue ethics 30
The renaissance of virtue ethics 31
Varieties of virtue ethics 34
Virtue ethics as an all-embracing ethical theory 34
Virtue ethics as complementary or supplementary to other ethical theories 35
Virtue ethics as 'anti-theory' 36
Virtues based on human flourishing or motivation? 37
Our version of virtue ethics 38
Virtue ethics and the professions 40
Human flourishing as a key concept for virtue-based professional ethics 43
The good life, flourishing, practices and professions 45
MacIntyre on 'practices' 46
Professions as purposive practices 47
Concluding comments 49
3 Virtues, vices and situations 50
Introduction 50
Virtue and the virtues 50
Virtues as character traits 51
The nature of character and character traits 52
The situationist critique of character and virtue ethics 54
The complexity of 'virtue' concepts 57
Types of virtues 60
Virtues, vices and the doctrine of the mean 63
Emotions, 'emotion work' and the virtues 65
Which virtues? 69
Concluding comments 70
4 Professional wisdom 72
Introduction 72
Vignettes 73
Practical wisdom – background 77
Features of practical wisdom 78
Everyday practice and professional wisdom 82
Professional wisdom 85
Strategies for practice and professional education 92
Concluding comments 95
5 Care 96
Introduction 96
Vignettes 97
Care as a virtue and care as a relation 101
Elements of care 102
The professional virtue of caring 106
Strategies for practice and professional education 108
Concluding comments 110
6 Respectfulness 111
Introduction 111
Vignettes 112
Respect 117
Types of respect 118
Stages of respect 121
Respect as acknowledgement of value 122
Respect as preservation and non-destruction 123
Respect and engagement 124
The virtue of respectfulness 127
Strategies for practice and professional education 128
Concluding comments 132
7 Trustworthiness 134
Introduction 134
Vignettes 135
Trust 139
Trustworthiness 144
Questioning the trustworthiness of professionals 147
Strategies for practice and professional education 152
Concluding comments 154
8 Justice 155
Introduction 155
Vignettes 156
Conceptions of justice 161
Justice and impartiality 166
Justice as restorative and transformative 168
Strategies for practice and professional education 170
Concluding comments 173
9 Courage 174
Introduction 174
Vignettes 175
Courage as a virtue 182
Courage – a health and social care professional virtue 186
Strategies for practice and professional education 191
Concluding comments 194
10 Integrity 195
Introduction 195
Vignettes 195
Form: consistency and commitment 199
Content: conduct and character 201
Process: moral competence 203
Integrity in professional life 204
Strategies for practice and professional education 209
Concluding comments 211
11 Situating virtues in professional life 213
Introduction 213
The individual moral agent in an organisational and political context 214
Virtues in context 219
Inter-professional working in health and social care 221
Concluding comments 222
Appendix: Selected lists of virtues 224
References 226
Author index 241
A 241
B 241
C 241
D 241
F 242
G 242
H 242
I 242
J 242
K 242
L 242
M 242
N 243
O 243
P 243
R 243
S 243
T 243
V 243
W 243
Z 243
Subject index 244
A 244
B 244
C 244
D 245
E 245
F 246
G 246
H 246
I 246
J 247
K 247
L 247
M 247
N 248
O 248
P 248
R 249
S 249
T 250
U 250
V 250
W 251
Y 251
Z 251