Professional Ethics—Yours, Mine, Ours

Posted by National Association of Charitable Gift Planners on Nov 18, 2014 3:13:44 PM

It’s a standard crisis in medical drama—the advice of a nurse who has cared for a patient is disregarded by a doctor with specialist credentials. The patient suffers when the professions clash.

In 2011, a group of associations (called the Interprofessional Education Collaborative, or IPEC) representing various interests in the healthcare industry—MDs, osteopaths, pharmacists, nurses and others—set out to eliminate those clashes. They issued recommendations on “Core Competencies for Collaborative Interprofessional Practice.” The goal was to transform education across the healthcare professions, to prepare all health professions students for “deliberatively working together with the common goal of building a safer and better patient-centered and community/population oriented U.S. health care system.”

They defined interprofessionality as “the process by which professionals reflect on and develop ways of practicing that provides an integrated and cohesive answer to the needs of the patient/family/population... [I]t involves continuous interaction and knowledge sharing between professionals, organized to solve or explore a variety of education and care issues all while seeking to optimize the patient’s participation... Interprofessionality requires a paradigm shift, since interprofessional practice has unique characteristics in terms of values, codes of conduct, and ways of working.”

If you replace “patient” with “donor/client,” a paradigm shift toward interprofessionality would also be a good move for philanthropic planning. In a series of posts, we consider the four core competencies for interprofessionality in our own context, starting with Values and Ethics.

In addition to the codes of ethics and conduct individual professions, interprofessional practice calls for a set of values that support relationships among the professions, joint relationships with donors/clients, the quality of cross-professional exchanges, and interprofessional ethical considerations in delivering services.

Planners involved in interprofessional advising need to work with individuals of other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values, including these, which enhance the codes of practice for the separate professions:

  • Place the interests of donors/clients at the center of interprofessional philanthropic advising. This is the challenge of donor-centered gift planning for fundraisers who are bound by the Model Standards of Practice for Charitable Gift Planners to clearly state that they represent the interests of the charity. The most meaningful plan occurs where the interests of the donor/client and the interests of the charitable organization intersect.
  • Respect the dignity and privacy of donors/clients, while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based service.
  • Embrace the cultural diversity and individual differences that characterize donors/clients, their families, and the advising team.
  • Respect the unique cultures, values, roles/responsibilities, and expertise of other advisors. The culture of wealth preservation and the culture of wealth redistribution have common ground in many forms of planned giving.
  • Work in cooperation with those who receive advice, those who provide it, and others who contribute to or support the delivery of planning services.
  • Develop a trusting relationship with donors/clients, families, and other team members.
  • Demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct and quality of advice in one’s contributions to team-based planning.
  • Manage ethical dilemmas specific to interprofessional donor/client centered planning situations.
  • Act with honesty and integrity in relationships with donors/clients, families, and other team members.
  • Maintain competence in one’s own profession appropriate to scope of practice.

In future posts, we’ll look at competencies related to Roles/Responsibilities, Interprofessional Communication and Teamwork.

Here are a few resource to help you build your own IQ (Interprofessional Quotient):

Better Results Through Better Collaboration,” Dave Holaday, (originally published in the Journal of Practical Estate Planning 2010; archived by the Purposeful Planning Institute)

Working Relationships CTA

Topics: philanthropy, General, Leadership