Ethical issues in professional development: Case studies regarding behaviour at conferences

Amy Thompson, Jodi Brookins-Fisher, Dianne Kerr, Irene O'Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Health education professionals are often called upon to be role models of professional conduct as well as mentors to their students. Part of that mentoring, particularly of graduate students, involves preparing students to conduct research, and publish and present results of their work at state and national conference venues. Health educators often urge students to attend and present at professional conferences, but little preparation is given regarding behavioural expectations of the students who attend. Likewise, faculty was not mentored about conference behaviour expectations during their own professional preparation, and may not appropriately behave. Some view conference attendance merely as a chance to get away from academic responsibilities, visit a desirable location, or time to have fun with friends. This article presents scenarios of potential professional conference behaviours of health education faculty and students. A series of discussion questions relating to the values, morals, and ethics of the situation follow each scenario. The article concludes with a discussion of what the authors believe is appropriate and inappropriate conference behaviour. This information may be valuable to faculty and students alike as they determine the ethics involved with behaviour at professional conferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-545
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • conference behaviour
  • ethics
  • health education
  • professional preparation


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