Principles of Ethical Conduct and Practice
One of the hallmarks of a profession is the ability to self-regulate and to define standards of conduct. (Swick, 2000) While professionalism may have many facets, the establishment of a code of ethics for the profession or specialty remains a hallmark of distinction.
One of the first actions of the American Medical Association after its founding in 1847 was to develop a Code of Medical Ethics. The Code has seen many changes in the last 171 years, and currently exists as a set of ten Principles and a more detailed Code numbering hundreds of pages which offers opinions on topics commonly held in tension in medical practice. (AMA, 2015)
Similarly, after its founding in 1951, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) developed a Code of Ethics which includes sections on Ethical foundations, Physician Conduct and Practice, Conflicts of Interest, Professional Relations, and Societal Responsibilities. While taking some inspiration from the AMA Code, ACOG’s Code also opines on problems unique to women’s health and specialists in women’s healthcare. (ACOG, 2011)