The virtues and vices of professionalism
Professionalism in Mental Healthcare: Experts, Expertise and Expectations.
Cambridge University Press
Microsoft Word 9780521131766_ch_3_extended.doc
- Author's Original
In mental health, as in other medical disciplines, the role of the professional is changing. The availability of information, enhanced roles of other healthcare professionals and changes in training have altered the doctor-patient relationship and left professionals accountable to the needs of clients, politicians, policy makers and funding agencies. This book seeks to redefine the professional role of the specialist mental health worker by bringing perspectives from leading experts from both developed and developing countries, and also from a wide range of professionals in the field of law, medical ethics, education and medical leadership.
This chapter explores what can be learnt about the nature of professionalism through the lens of the law. It shows how the law has been used to reinforce professional power and how the development of legal doctrine has been predicated on historical assumptions about professionals that may be of doubtful legitimacy and which need defending in contemporary terms. However, it is also contended that some of themes that can be seen emerging within the domain of law contribute to the basis for a legitimate sense of professionalism.
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