In professions we trust: fostering virtuous practitioners in teaching, law and medicine

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Date of publication
1 July 2015
Social welfare
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This report argues that the legal, medical, and teaching professions provide a vital link between public service and the wider common good. Yet this understanding of civic purpose is in crisis, and the professions too often have come to be seen as self-serving interest groups. The conception of professionalism founded on the performance of duties has been eroded, with transactionality, narrowing specialisation, and the meeting of imposed targets coming to characterise practice. The resultant loss of trust has been detrimental to both practitioners and users of services.

We need to acknowledge the obligation of practitioners to serve the common good in order to return law, medicine, and teaching to their proper status as vocations. This entails calling practitioners to reconsider their sense of professional purpose, and allowing the rebuilding of relationships, in which the doctor, teacher, and lawyer knows and seeks to serve all the needs of their patient, student, or client. Through this restoration of trust, it will be possible to return responsibility to members of the professions

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