Data Cannot Drive Professionalism
Being professional is determined by an ethic not by labels, brands or spin. We know someone is professional by what they do not what marketing they employ. If someone brutalizes others, treats them like numbers (https://safetyrisk.net/data-cannot-drive-vision/), de-humanises and victimizes then regardless of any post-nominals then they are not professional. It is impossible to hold to zero ideology and be professional.
When you set your identity by a number then persons in vision disappear. To be professional one has to see the whole person, the fallible person and the vulnerable person as foundational to all relationships.
Most professions are known as professional by the characteristics of helping and care, this is part of an Ethic. Often it is the quality of care and helping that determines professionalism. We sometimes see lawyers and doctors being struck off a professional register (https://www.ausdoc.com.au/news/former-ama-president-struck-five-years) because they exhibit a ruthless love of money over people, demonstrable incompetence or exploit patients for gain. Professionalism has to be person-centric in order to be professional (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326557314_Characteristics_of_a_Profession).
A code of ethics is not an Ethic. Generally a foundation for the professions often listed as ‘standards’ of practice but this is not an Ethic. At a deeper level of social contract there is an understanding or an unwritten code that demonstrates a methodology (an Ethic) that has been set historically in the profession. This is where expectations of what we expect from our GP, teacher or a nurse are set. Generally a code of ethics is measurable and behavioural, an Ethic is philosophical and dispositional (vocational). It is often in a conflict between the a code of ethics and an Ethic that we have concerns. This is often when people say they have done nothing wrong and have not breached a code of ethics but in reality they have breached the trust given to them that is simply not listed as a code.
Codes of ethical practice are generally broad and systemic, an Ethic is more a moral social contract that has developed over time yet is not written down. Interestingly, we don’t look at codes of practice until something goes wrong. Generally, ethical behaviours are explicit in a code, and an Ethic is implicit. In all my time in teaching in the education sector I never glanced at a code of ethics. When you get your Ethic right, you don’t need to look at any code. There is nothing in a teaching code of ethics that tells teachers they should love their profession and love children. Sometimes even codes themselves will name an Ethic as ‘the spirit of the law’ (http://www.det.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/17692/TeachersCode_ofProfessionalPractice.pdf). The key to such professionalism is the social contract (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261181816_Summary_of_Social_Contract_Theory_by_Hobbes_Locke_and_Rousseau ).
Setting one’s identity by zero doesn’t actually break any code of ethics just as any school teacher who thinks the most important thing about your child is to rattle off their score in Maths.
A code of ethics cannot dictate attitude, orientation and disposition. We sure appreciate the school teachers who go the extra mile for our daughter or son. When we see them doing things not required by a code of ethics but know them by their Ethic, then we know they are professional.
Person-centrism is the opposite of numeric-centrism and determines the difference between being employed and being professional. When one’s language is about accidents and zero then numeric centrism drives ideology. Numeric-centrism tells everyone that counting is all that counts and thus demonstrates that data can never drive professionalism.