Medical Oaths: and Their Educational Impact

Leila Afshar



Current health system put different tasks on physicians. Alongside with this change, medical education also becomes more sophisticated and the humanistic features of medicine undermined. However, it should be pointed out that the professional commitment of a physician and his/her primary duty is caring for the patients. Although changes in the health care system have affected the physician’s roles, this primal commitment mentioned as the primary task of the medicine as a profession. Besides, nowadays, physicians, patients, and members of the society have come to believe that medicine and especially its physician-patient relationship component is under threat, and virtually all have concluded that any action to address the issue must include a major educational initiative. (R L. Cruess, S R. Cruess &Yvonne Steinert eds. Teaching Medical Professionalism. 2009, Cambridge University Press)
On the other hand, usually duties and responsibilities show themselves in the form of national and international codes and statements. Therefore a professional code could be seen as a set of ethical rules, values and standards that specify the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the members of that profession. That is why the professional code is also called rules governing the professional responsibilities.
In the medical history since about four centuriesBC, emphasis on the obligations of a physician and his essential competencies was importantand has been discussed in philosophical and medical literature. For example, taking an oath based on the textof the Hippocratic Oath or the like, with its stresses on professional commitment and ethical responsibilitiesis still accepted as a part of the medical education or graduation process all over the world. Over the years, these ethical codes have been reviewed and revised and in each period have specified standards of the medical profession.


Medical Oaths

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