CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT - INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ORTHOPAEDIC MANIPULATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
Most professional bodies provide that no member shall conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner. Although the wording may vary somewhat among professional organisations, the broad intent is similar.
ARTICLE III, Section 3 (b) of the Constitution of IFOMPT states that:
"Where the Executive Committee considers that a member has ceased to meet the requirements for membership, lowered its standard upon which its membership was based, or upon a complaint by two member organisations that either the conduct or policy of a member is detrimental to the best interests of the Federation, or is likely to bring the Federation into disrepute….."
The constitution, therefore, permits the Federation to determine what conduct is unprofessional or incompetent, based on the following definition:
Generally, unprofessional conduct can be classified under the following:
1. is detrimental to the best intent of the public;
2. tends to harm the standing of the profession generally, whether or not that conduct is disgraceful or dishonourable; and/or
3. demonstrates a lack of knowledge, skill or judgement in the practice of the profession.
Thus professional misconduct may be broken down into three parts:
a) the best interest of the public;
b) conduct detrimental to the profession; and
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines honourable conduct as "allegiance to what is right or to the conventional standard of conduct".
Black Law Dictionary (4th Edition) defines unprofessional conduct as "that which is by general opinion considered to be grossly unprofessional because it is immoral or dishonourable".
Although there is an emphasis on an immoral or dishonourable conduct, the definition is broader than merely encompassing immoral or dishonourable conduct. It is seen as that conduct which may not necessarily be immoral or dishonourable but nevertheless be unprofessional. It appears, however, that if conduct is deemed immoral or dishonourable it will almost always be considered unprofessional.
Since different professions place different emphasis on certain conduct it is possible that conduct considered unprofessional in one way may not be unprofessional in another. However, in most cases, conduct deemed unprofessional in one would also be deemed unprofessional in another.
Since each different professional association is best equipped in determining the type of conduct it must impose on its members to protect the public and the reputation of the Association, the Courts have held, consistent with the Legislation creating self-regulating professions, that the Association is itself best suited for judging the right or conventional standard of conduct for its members. Consequently, courts have been reluctant to interfere in the judgement of a professional association, but will do so if it is of the view that the judgement of the disciplinary body is one that cannot be reasonably reached based on the facts before it.
Although it is the sole prerogative of each professional association to define the scope of unprofessional conduct, western democratic society is sufficiently homogeneous to suggest that examples from other professions would be applicable to the members of an Association of Physical Therapists. The categories of unprofessional conduct for purposes of analysis might be broken down into four sub-headings:
(a) Conviction of criminal offence or criminal behaviour;
(b) Immoral sexual conduct;
(c) Immoral or unethical business behaviour in one's profession and in a profession other than one's own; and
(d) Fraud or dishonesty.
Under sub-heading (d) professional misconduct concerns the elementary quality that a professional person must have, that is Integrity. A professional person without honesty is a person that any regulatory body would be entitled, surely to say, ought not to practice. A lack of integrity reflects negatively on the profession/association, as a whole. Other examples where fraud or dishonesty have led to discipline include; bribery, conspiracy, perjury, making false affidavit of execution of a document, obtaining money or good by false pretences.
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