My attention was called to the principle of Beneficence this weekend in one of the discussions on the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) mandate to move to a single point of entry at the doctoral level for the occupational therapist by 2027. A simple definition of beneficence is the act of doing good, active goodness, kindness or charity (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/beneficenceretrieved April 14, 2018).
The principle was cited in response to a discussion I started on whether eliminating two points of entry for the OT in the US is an issue of justice. Despite thinking myself a strong social justice advocate proponent (I would proudly wear the badge of “social justice warrior!”) I don’t think that moving to a single point of entry is an issue of social injustice. I use the term social justice because I do not think that the term occupational justice has sufficiently been defined as a unique construct distinct from social justice.
I care about the justice issue because I have been dismayed by some of the comments I have read and heard. I appreciate that the OTD discussion has raised strong feelings and emotions but expressions that those who support the move to a single point of entry have abandoned principles of social (occupational) justice and the implication that they must not “care” as much as others bothers me. I am concerned over the creation of animus that will be counterproductive and destructive to our profession’s future.
After reading some thoughtful and instructive posts yesterday morning I spent some of my thinking time (which I do during grocery shopping and my 5 mile walk around our nearby park) considering what is means to “do good” and to “want good” in the context of the ACOTE mandate debate.
It struck me that part of our challenge may be that people on both sides of the issue are acting out of a true sense of beneficence. People on both sides of the issue are concerned about doing good for our consumers, our current and future students, our practitioners and our other stakeholders. A problem arises when there are different carts and different horses and we disagree about which course of action will be most effective in achieving “good” for the most stakeholders while limiting negative consequences to the fullest extent possible.
There are likely many types of good that most of us would support although some are at odds with others. A non-exhaustive list might these include:
Principle 1. Occupational therapy personnel shall demonstrate a concern for the well-being and safety of the recipients of their services.
Beneficence includes all forms of action intended to benefit other persons. The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013). Beneficence requires taking action by helping others, in other words, by promoting good, by preventing harm, and by removing harm. Examples of beneficence include protecting and defending the rights of others, preventing harm from occurring to others, removing conditions that will cause harm to others, helping persons with disabilities, and rescuing persons in danger (Beauchamp & Childress, 2013).
RELATED STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
Occupational therapy personnel shall
Occupational Therapy Association. (2015). Occupational therapy code of ethics (2015). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(Suppl. 3), 6913410030. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.696S03
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.