Susan S Night
I think most would agree that to progress the debate over the role of conscience in medicine we must continue the conversation about the means and ends of medicine as suggested by Lawrence and Curlin (2007, 10). This must be done because the tensions that exist between negotiating one’s personal integrity and one’s professional integrity will never go away. These tensions are not exclusive to the profession of medicine, but are enhanced by potential conflicts between physician integrity and patient autonomy. The objective of the conversation should neither be to eliminate these tensions nor to narrowly compartmentalize them as having religious or secular origins. Rather, the objective of the conversation should be to first encourage each physician to engage in moral reflection upon what they believe is right or wrong and the source that informs these values. Only then will physicians be able to appropriately negotiate the tensions that exist between the moral duties of personal and professional integrity and engage in meaningful dialogue rather than disagreement with their peers and their patients.
Night SS. Negotiating the Tension Between Two Integrities: A Richer Perspective on Conscience (Conscience in Medicine). Am J Bioeth. 2007;7(12):24-26.