Essay on Professionalism in Healthcare

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction to Professionalism in Healthcare
  2. The Role of Communication in Healthcare Professionalism
  3. Patient-Centered Care and Its Challenges
  4. Embracing Diversity in Healthcare Practice
  5. Upholding Professional Standards and Codes of Conduct
  6. Informed Consent and Confidentiality: Ethical Pillars of Healthcare
  7. Bibliography

Introduction to Professionalism in Healthcare

There are numerous key qualities a health professional must possess in order to deliver the best care to their patients. Professionalism is extremely important when it comes to dealing with patients and colleagues in a professional practice. Throughout this assignment, key qualities and the importance of professionalism for health professionals will be explored. This assignment will look at the key theories and principles underpinning safe, effective, professional, and ethical professionalism in the healthcare profession. There will be a discussion in some detail of what are believed to be key qualities for health professionals and the importance of professionalism. The advantages, barriers, and solutions to these theories and principles will be explored. Communication, person-centered care and diversity, professional standards and codes of conduct, and finally consent and confidentiality will all be touched on throughout this assignment.

The Role of Communication in Healthcare Professionalism

Communication is a vital quality for health professionals to possess in the healthcare setting. Communication is how people express information, thoughts, and feelings to one another. There are many ways of communicating for example, verbally, non-verbally, digitally, and written. When communication is clear and concise, health professionals know their roles and can confidently reassure patients. Verbal communication is used most commonly when it comes to communicating. There are many advantages of using verbal communication within the health profession. It is much quicker to exchange ideas and concepts with one another and also easier for patients to express how they are feeling. However, with all the positives of verbal communication, there are also many downsides. Language and cultural barriers are among many of the challenges health professionals will face on a daily basis. If a patient cannot convey thoughts and emotions to health professionals, then this will alter the care they receive. (M. LEE, PH.D., 2003) Also, if a patient has a specific cultural belief about a treatment plan that has been created for them, then this will also alter the care that they will receive as they will not accept the treatment. It is important that health professionals are trained to help overcome these barriers to communication. They should have access to a translator if a patient does not speak the same language. Health professionals should also be able to come up with an alternative treatment plan if the patient has a specific cultural belief. (M. LEE, PH.D., 2003)

Patient-Centered Care and Its Challenges

Patients' needs should be the sole focus of all health professionals. It is important that they provide excellent patient-centered care in order for patients to receive the best care available to them. Patient-centered care is a model of care that respects the patient`s experience, values, needs, and preferences in the planning, coordination, and delivery of care (Gluyas, 2015) This will ensure the patient has the finest care they can receive and overall improve their experience. As with the advantages of person-centered care, there are also disadvantages. An overbearing workload is a huge barrier when it comes to delivering person-centered care. (West, Barron, and Reeves, 2005) Health professionals will have an increased workload as they will have additional planning and work to do which will in turn force them to work extra hours. This kind of pressure will no doubt see an upsurge in staff turnover. A solution to this problem would be to employ more staff to delegate the workload between everyone, this will allow health professionals to deliver the best care. (Moore et al., 2017) Another challenge involved with delivering person-centered care is personal involvement with patients. A health professional may get too attached to a particular patient which may cause trouble down the line if they do not give enough of their time to other patients. It is important for healthcare workers to remain professional when delivering person-centered care and to treat everyone equally. (L. Oppert, O'Keeffe, and Duong, 2018)

Embracing Diversity in Healthcare Practice

Diversity is something all health professionals should practice without having to think about. This means the health professional doesn`t discriminate towards any gender, age, race, religion, or ethnicity. It is understanding and respecting people from different backgrounds, who have different skills and knowledge. This is a key quality to possess in professional practice as it guarantees no one is treated more favorably than the rest. Diversity will also increase the overall happiness of the patients as they are all treated with the same care and compassion. (The Right Thing to Do, The Smart Thing to Do, 2001) Health professionals must be up to date on all training surrounding diversity because a lack of knowledge and awareness can lead to barriers to diversity. This knowledge and awareness will ensure diversity is implemented at all times. (Celik et al., 2008) The growing diversity of populations nowadays puts increased pressure on health professionals to make sure there are no disparities when treating patients. It is essential that health professionals accept all different walks of life and deliver the best care they are capable of, regardless of the patient. (Nair and Adetayo, 2019) Research has shown that certain races are less likely to receive different treatments, which confirms there is still a need for continuous training and awareness for health professionals. (Nair and Adetayo, 2019)

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Upholding Professional Standards and Codes of Conduct

In the healthcare profession, it is extremely important that health professionals follow the professional standards and codes of conduct that are outlined by their employers. This will ensure that the health professional is providing care in the most professional way possible. Professionalism is critically important as this sets the tone of how a patient interacts with a health professional. If there is an absence of professionalism this will likely cause a lack of trust between a patient and worker. Employees making sure they uphold professional standards will benefit everyone involved. The professional standards will ensure that safe clinical practice is taking place. If professional standards are upheld, this will intertwine and incorporate person-centered care, which is one of many focuses of health professionals. (Tenn and C. York, 2014) However, like many healthcare facilities, the lack of staff available can sometimes see a slip in professional standards. The majority of the time this is no fault of the health professionals as they are given an unsustainable workload. They are expected to juggle too many responsibilities which will see professional standards suffer. This barrier to professional standards could easily be avoided by increasing the workforce. (Ali, Mehdi and Alireza, 2013)

Codes of conduct are just as important as professional standards when it comes to ensuring the safety of patients, and colleagues and upholding the good professional practice. These set the standards health professionals must adhere to while they work in healthcare. If these codes are followed, every patient will receive the best treatment available to them in the safest manner. The many benefits of obeying codes of conduct will see staff providing a standard of healthcare that reflects well on the practice. It will also ensure the public is protected as they will receive safe and ethical care. (Code of conduct for Healthcare Support Workers, 2021) Furthermore, these codes of conduct can be mistreated by health professionals if they are overworked and understaffed. Health professionals may take shortcuts to help them perform tasks quicker which will in turn see them ignore certain ethical guidelines they must follow. Overcrowded wards can also see codes of conduct being broken. All of these barriers can be avoided or fixed if management recognizes the problems and create a plan that will overcome the issues. For example, delegating workloads fairly between staff and not overcrowding awards. (Mosalanezhad, Tafvizi, Dezhkam and Porkhorshid, 2017)

When it comes to safe, ethical professionalism, health professionals must ensure that they get informed consent before they begin undertaking any treatment or treatment plans for a patient. Informed consent involves the patient being fit to give consent on a voluntary basis. The patient should also be aware of all the information regarding the treatment or treatment plan before they can give informed consent. This not only protects the patient but also the health professional if something goes wrong, they will have proof of the consent given. Every interaction should be recorded also in the event something goes wrong. (Cochrane Library, 2013) A common barrier to informed consent is if the patient does not understand the concept of their treatment or treatment plan. In this case, it should be simplified as much as possible and explained in different ways to allow them to grasp all the information they need. (Barriers to Informed Consent | Annals of Internal Medicine, 2008)

Informed Consent and Confidentiality: Ethical Pillars of Healthcare

Confidentiality goes hand in hand with consent when it comes to upholding professionalism in the healthcare setting. Research shows that if a patient is reassured that any information regarding them will be completely confidential, then they are more likely to want to disclose any information that is required. (Berlan and Bravender, 2021) It is vitally important that health professionals follow the rules surrounding confidentiality in their practice as it will not only protect them but also their patients. This level of professionalism will ensure that there is a trusting relationship between worker and patient. Confidential data can range from any information about the patient`s medical history to personal information. If there is a breach of confidentiality this can cause problems for the health professional that was responsible for keeping the information in a safe place. A breach like this may be an accident, for example taking a picture that has a patient`s information in the background or losing a memory key that stores patient information. However, regardless if the breach is an accident or not, it is against the law that patient information has been shared with inappropriate people. (Blightman, 2013) If a problem like this arises, it should be dealt with in a professional manner and brought to the attention of the right people. The health professional responsible for the breach should be disciplined correctly. (Blightman, 2013)

Overall, there are many key qualities a health professional must possess as well as the ability to maintain high professional standards. Based on research done throughout this assignment, it is clear to see there are many advantages and barriers to these qualities and trying to uphold professional standards. However, it is important to overcome these barriers with suitable solutions that do not affect the care and treatment of a patient. As seen at the beginning of the assignment, communication is a key quality a health professional should possess. Patient-centered care and diversity were then discussed in some detail. All of these qualities were proven to be qualities needed by health professionals in order to provide safe, effective, and ethical healthcare. Further on, professional standards and codes of conduct were explored in relation to the importance of professionalism for health professionals. Studies showed how they are critically important for professionalism in the healthcare setting. Consent and confidentiality also tied into this discussion investigating the importance of professionalism. With all of these concepts, there were many advantages to the health professional for upholding high professional standards, however, they face many challenges when having to overcome barriers in these areas. It is important that they deal with these in the correct manner and notify the appropriate person to help deal with the situations. In conclusion, it is evident that patient care and happiness are the number one priority of a health professional. They should possess all the qualities listed above and follow all ethical rules and regulations correctly in order to achieve this.


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