Reviewing Moral Character: Virtues in Professional Roles
In reviewing the article, Virtues in Professional Roles, one understands that the authors believe that the actions of people in professional roles are viewed from moral perspectives in various ways, granting consideration of the particular professional situations at hand and the relationships of the professional with other people. Professional roles are linked to institutional expectations as well as professional practices, the written guidelines for professionals as well as the actions of the particular person. There is an incorporation of virtues as well as obligations in professional expectations and practice, virtues perhaps being more personal and internal and obligations more social and external.
One notes that there are both social expectations to be considered as well as the standards of the profession, as virtue in professions is derived from relationships. In professional roles, there is sometimes the tendency to divide error into technical, judgmental, or normative error. Technical error means that the appropriate training did not precede the mistake the mistake of the professional, and this is more forgivable. Judgmental error means that the professional carried out a plan of action which was unethical, and this is also somewhat forgivable. However, normative error means that the mistakes incurred follow a pattern, that the professional, on more than one or several occasions, has taken the wrong course, and this is less forgivable.
Over time, virtue has been decreasingly addressed in the professional sphere, professions placing more focus on the various objective facts and situations and less on the internal virtues of professionals. Virtues cannot ever be considered as personal blanket actions or methods of behavior, rather, they need to be accompanied by an understanding of what is right and good in variable situations with others. When virtue is placed in the context of human relations and correct judgment, then virtue becomes a shared professional effort.
Beauchamp, T. & Childress, J. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2001.