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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009 May;43(5):409-19. doi: 10.1080/00048670902817695.

Ethnomethodological study of the values of Australian psychiatrists: towards an empirically derived RANZCP Code of Ethics.

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  • 1Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Building K25, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. mrobertson@med.usyd.edu.au



The aim of the present study was to identify the core values of Australian psychiatrists to ascertain how these are reflected in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Code of Ethics.


An ethnomethodological study was conducted on a non-purposive sample of Australian psychiatrists using a non-probabilistic theoretical sampling method. Data obtained at interview were analysed using a qualitative computer-assisted thematic analysis paradigm. The themes generated using this coding strategy were refined into a rich description of the core values held by Australian psychiatrists.


Four main values emerged from the data: the value of the patient, the value of sophisticated understanding, the value of reflexivity, and the value of advocacy.


The four main values identified in the present study were well reflected in the main principles of the RANZCP Code of Ethics. In the light of the data, some additional annotations to the document are suggested, to better reflect this value system.

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