Ethics can be defined as a study that aims to determine what can be considered a proper course of action for any individual. By answering the question of what one ought to do, ethics is simply the study of correct behavior in all the endeavors of human beings. Thus, it helps to categorize values and choose the one to pursue in life. Instead of being preoccupied with one’s own happiness, ethics teaches people to sacrifice their interests for a greater cause (Bennett, 2010).
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Ethics plays an important role both in personal and professional lives of people. In personal lives, it is ethics that forms the basis of understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, proper awareness of the two concepts helps to develop the best ways of reacting to any given situation even prior to its occurrence. Though, there exists situational ethics, in which individuals react in accordance with what the situation dictates. Thesse reactions are based on the built-in systems that help to determine the right thing to do when caught up in any given situation. However, individuals are encouraged to adhere to standard ethical behavior since situational ethics changes according to the circumstances. It means that people will always be aware of how they are expected to live irrespective of what is happening around them (Bennett, 2010).
Preston (2007) adds that ethics also acts as a mediator between individuals as they react and interact with other people. He notes that those who adhere to wrong ethics react to others negatively while those whose ethics is based on good moral principles will always see others positively. For instance, Christians build their behavior on ‘the truth’ as stated by ‘the word of God’. It teaches them to see others as God’s children and develop unconditional love to everyone. Basically, ethics is important since people pass high moral principles to their next generations and to others around them. By being ethical in the way one lives, whether in personal or professional life, a person becomes a role model to other individuals (Preston, 2007).
A number of studies have been conducted to demonstrate the importance of ethics in work environment. For instance, the American Psychological Association has developed the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to guide its members on how to conduct themselves professionally. The code encourages its members to be committed to the highest psychological ideals. In this way, psychologists remain committed to both the general rules and the Preamble as guidelines to ensure that they stay in an ethical course of action in every case they handle since each of the ethical standards has enforceable rules to guide the conduct of the psychologists (American Psychological Association, 2008).
The code, through its preamble, acknowledges the need for commitment of the psychologists to ethical aspects of the relationship between their personal and professional lives. In this way, psychologists become aware that their personal commitment plays a significant role in forming their professionally ethical behavior. For instance, their work ethics requires them to be committed to confidentiality. In fact, psychologists are only expected to inquire about their clients’ personal and confidential information in case of total necessity (American Psychological Association, 2008).
Equally, the article by Pennsylvania Department of Education provides various ethical principles required by the teaching profession and explains how they help to uphold morality among the teachers. The department notes that as a critical teaching element, ethics plays a crucial role in the professional and personal lives of teachers. It argues that it is the ethical stance of teachers that governs how they assess and instruct students. Equally, the interaction between teachers and their students, administrators, the community at large, as well as colleagues is also guided by their ethics (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2014).
Moreover, while identifying favorite teachers, students and their parents usually consider their ethical stance. For instance, students talk about a teacher being fair. It is based on his/her commitment to promoting equality or justice, which are ethical values. Equally, teachers who have universal respect for their students are said to be caring. Evidently, teachers embrace ethics in such a way that new teachers use it to identify and accept the various work ethics elements of a new work environment. It calls for one to realign his or her personal believes with the ethical responsibilities in the teaching profession (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2014).
Finally, an article by the Nursing Midwifery Council (2012) emphasizes on the significance of adherence to the standards of conduct, ethics and performance principles for midwives and nurses. The first important ethical element in the nursing profession is its role in establishing trust between the nurses and the midwives and their patients. This trust enables patients to surrender all the information about their wellbeing and health to nurses and midwives willingly. However, it must be earned through adherence to the ethical standards expected from the medical practitioners. It will require them to prioritize caring for their patients with dignity and respect. Being ethical will also enable nurses to enjoy peaceful working relationships with their colleagues to promote wellbeing and health of their patients.
In conclusion, ethics forms a basis of human lives whether personal or professional. Without ethics, individuals would not be able to know what is right and what is wrong. In fact, people would be committed to what they think would give them happiness while giving no regards to the interest of the others. This would give rise to a chaotic world where people cannot coexist.
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