What’s the connection between manners and ethics?
A recent piece in Time discusses worries about rudeness on the part of physicians: It’s Not You, Doctors Are Just Rude. The piece discusses “a new study from Johns Hopkins University showing that young doctors in their first year out of medical school are unlikely to take the time to introduce themselves to hospitalized patients, or to sit and have an eye-to-eye conversation with patients.”
The point of posting this here is not to promote doctor-bashing. All professions can be susceptible to problems of rudeness; there are rude nurses just as surely as there are rude doctors.
Several years ago, I wrote a short commentary on the topic, for the Newsletter of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, called Manners and Ethics: Is it Wrong to be Rude? The key point in that article is that the link between manners and ethics is respect. Manners are a sign of respect, and respect is a fundamental element of ethical behaviour. Individual instances of rudeness might not amount to something unethical, but a pattern of rudeness signals a worrisome level of disrespect that is both unproductive and unprofessional.
p.s. this is of course closely related to the problem of bullying, which is a significant one in some nursing contexts.