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עמוד בית
Mon, 06.02.23

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume 18

Journal 8, August 2016
pages: 454-460

Specific Ethical Codes for Mental Health Care Professionals: Do We Need to Annotate?

Summary

Background:

In Israel a general code of ethics exists for physicians, drafted by the Israel Medical Association. The question arises whether psychiatrists require a separate set of ethical guidelines.

Objectives:

To examine the positions of Israeli psychiatrists with regard to ethics in general and professional ethics in particular, and to explore opinions regarding a code of ethics or ethical guidelines for psychiatry. 

Methods:

A specially designed questionnaire was compiled and completed by psychiatrists recruited for the study. 

Results:

Most participants reported low levels of perceived knowledge regarding ethics, professional ethics, and the general code of ethics. Older and more experienced professionals reported a higher level of knowledge. Most psychiatrists agreed or strongly agreed with the need for a distinct code of ethics/ethical guidelines for psychiatrists. This support was significantly higher among both psychiatrists under 50 years and residents. 

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that the existing code of ethics and position papers may not be sufficient, indicating a potential need to develop and implement a process to create the ethical code itself. In addition, the findings highlight the importance of ethics education, suggesting that the need for a code of ethics is more urgent in the early stages of professional training, as younger professionals may be more exposed to advanced media technology. While some may fear that a distinct code of ethics will distance psychiatry from modern medicine, others assert that the profession combines aspects from the humanities and social sciences that require a unique sort of management and thus this profession requires a distinct code of ethics.
 

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