Emory University is an institution dedicated to providing educational opportunities for its students, transmitting and advancing knowledge, and providing a wide range of services to students and to the general community. To accomplish these objectives and responsibilities requires that the University be free from violence, threats and intimidation; protective of free inquiry and dissent; respectful of the rights of others; open to change; supportive of democratic and lawful procedure; and dedicated to intellectual integrity and a rational approach to the resolution of human problems.

The tradition of the university as a sanctuary of academic freedom and center of informed discussion is an honored one, to be guarded vigilantly. The basic significance of that sanctuary lies in the protection of intellectual freedoms: the rights of professors to teach; of scholars to engage in the advancement of knowledge; of students to learn and express their views.

Health professionals are privileged to serve in important and time-honored roles as caregivers for other humans. These roles include physical and emotional dimensions that demand the highest degree of ethical behavior.

Ethical behavior includes, but is not in any way limited to honesty, maintaining confidentiality, trustworthiness, professional demeanor, respect for the rights of others, personal accountability, concern for the welfare of patients, and responsibility to duty:

  • Honesty – Being truthful in communication with all others, while in the healthcare arena or in the community at large.
  • Maintenance of Patient Confidentiality – Restricting discussion of patient care to those areas where conversations cannot be overheard by others outside of the care team; refraining from disclosing patient identity to those not connected to the care of the patient; maintaining appropriate security for all paper and electronic patient records, whether in the patient care or research realms.
  • Trustworthiness – Being dependable; following through on responsibilities in a timely manner.
  • Professional Communication and Demeanor – Being thoughtful and kind when interacting with patients, their families, other members of the healthcare team, and all others; maintaining civility in all relationships; striving to maintain composure under pressures of fatigue, professional stress or personal problems; maintaining a neat and clean appearance and dress in attire that is reasonable and accepted as professional to the circumstances; refraining from intoxication; abstaining from the illegal use of drugs (both prescription and illicit drugs).
  • Respect for the rights of others – Dealing with all others, whether in a professional or non- professional setting, in a considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation; respecting the rights of patients and their families to be informed and share in patient care decisions; respecting patients’ modesty and privacy.
  • Personal accountability – Participating responsibly in patient care to the best of one’s ability and with appropriate supervision; undertaking clinical duties and persevering until they are complete; notifying the responsible person if one is unable to perform clinical tasks effectively; complying with University Policies and Procedures in an honest and forthright manner.
  • Concern for the welfare of patients – Treating patients and their families with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with others; avoiding the use of foul language, offensive gestures or inappropriate remarks; discerning accurately when supervision or advice is needed and seeking these out before acting; recognizing when one’s ability to function effectively is compromised and asking for relief or help; never administering care, in person or over the phone while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (prescription or illegal); not engaging in romantic, sexual, or other nonprofessional relationships with a patient, even upon the apparent request of a patient; advocating for the best care of the patient, in context of that patient’s beliefs and desires.
  • Responsibility to duty– Effectively undertaking duties with alacrity [eagerness, enthusiasm and promptness are synonyms] and persevering until complete, or notifying a responsible more senior person of a problem; being punctual for class, small groups, rounds, conferences and other duties; timely notification of supervisory faculty, residents and Deans of absences or an inability to carry out assigned duties; seeing patients regularly and assuming responsibility for their care with appropriate supervision; identifying emergencies and responding appropriately; and being available to faculty or staff personnel when on duty.

Last Modified: 7/21/2017