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Psychological Approach to Ethics for Physical and Occupational Therapists

Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP

An Introduction to Moral Psychology

Morality is typically considered a branch of philosophy, however, there are psychologists who have studied the foundations of morality and ethics. They are interested in the question of where morality originated from, and how humans decide what is right or wrong. An excellent book about moral psychology is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

There are 3 conclusions Haidt has made on the topic of moral psychology based on years of research.

First, moral decisions are made by intuition first and reasoning second. That means that we sense that something is right or wrong, then we justify our intuition using logic. Second, political conservatives and liberals share in many moral values. Third, morality binds and blinds us. This means that morality connects us to others who have the same moral background. On the other hand, it prevents us from seeing the morality of others. These 3 conclusions are crucial to studying ethics.

3 Conclusions from The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

  • Intuition first, reasoning second
  • Shared moral values between liberals and conservatives
  • Morality Blinds and Binds

Ethics for Physical and Occupational Therapists

In Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs, I utilize the first conclusion made by Haidt to resolve ethical dilemmas for physical and occupational therapists. The APTA and AOTA Code of Ethics provide basic ethical principles for physical and occupational therapists. However, they don’t resolve common ethical situations that emerge in professional practice. As a result, how do physical and occupational therapists decide what is right or wrong in ethical dilemmas? Intuition is really the key to making ethical decisions. Ethics for physical and occupational therapists is a critical topic, as situations come about daily.

Defining Ethical Dilemmas in Physical and Occupational Therapy!

What is an ethical dilemma in physical and occupational therapy?

Sometimes, principles in the APTA and AOTA Code of Ethics aren’t clear based on their wording. An ethical dilemma arises when a physical or occupational therapist must decide to act either based on the technical reading of the principle or the conceptual basis of the principle. Other times, the principle is clearer, but we stretch the boundaries of that principle. For example, we all know that speeding is wrong, however, most of us justify speeding. Some of us intuit that speeding 5 mph is ok, others intuit that 10 mph is ok. We then reason it out after the fact that I am a safe driver, therefore I can speed. Another type of ethical dilemma occurs when 2 ethical principles collide. How do you decide which principle takes precedent? Intuition is the answer. For instance, which principle takes precedent, not lying on a note or putting your patient’s best interest first?

What is an Ethical Dilemma?

  • Ambiguity from the APTA and AOTA Codes of Ethics
  • Stretching the boundaries
  • Collision of 2 ethical principles

 Seeing Multiple Ethical Perspectives

If intuition is the basis for ethical decisions, then multiple perspectives that are not clearly right or wrong can be seen. Ethics for physical and occupational therapists is based on different intuitive feelings of clinicians. Of course, there are many clear situations where you are adhering or violating ethical principles. There are also numerous situations that are ethically grey. There is tremendous value in seeing all the ethical viewpoints for many reasons. It allows physical therapists to reassess their own intuition and be less judgmental when they observe what they consider unethical behavior from other physical and occupational therapists.

Facilitating Debate in Ethics for Physical and Occupational Therapists

In Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs: I facilitate debate amongst audience members as to how to resolve ethical scenarios for physical and occupational therapists. I recognize that my intuition may be different than others, so I don’t impose my ethical judgments on audience members. I want the audience members to see how their colleagues respond to ethical dilemmas. I am merely a facilitator of ethical debate amongst physical and occupational therapists. If you are interested in fulfilling your PT ethics CEU requirement in NJ or other states and you want to explore your ethical intuition, check out Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs. I also give a course that is limited to the AOTA Code of Ethics and is approved for CEUs for occupational therapists by the AOTA. I look forward to you participation in the webinar. You shouldn’t settle for a boring ethics course. Ethics can be fun and engaging!

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Let's Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs

A 2.5 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – # 02517 

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2571

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-14

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NY, NJ)

Objectives to facilitate clinician ethical practice

 

1. Define ethics and the Code of Ethics of the APTA/AOTA to practice in an ethical manner

2. Analyze the boundaries of ethical priniciples for PTs/OTs to solve ethical dilemmas

3. Apply APTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

4. Apply AOTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Optimizing the Patient Experience

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02034

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Pending Approval by the NJ Board of PT – 2022 – 2024

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

1) Identify the components of bedside manner/ patient satisfaction and their link to healthcare outcomes

2) Apply strategies using social psychology to optimize the patient experience

3) Implement an organizational approach to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing the on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Improving Patient Adherence to Home Exercise Programs

 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02036

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The NJ Board of PT # 2111-80

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Identify the benefits of home exercise programs

2) Define differing theories of motivation/influence

3) Apply social psychology to HEP prescription/plan

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The Science of Bedside Manner and Patient Satisfaction

A 2 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02037

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2565

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-15

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NJ, NY)

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Develop and improve empathy skills

2. Identify the link between bedside manner/patient satisfaction and health outcomes

3. Measure patient satisfaction in a valid/reliable manner

4. Apply social psychology techniques to improve patient satisfaction

5) Integrate organizational strategies to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Effective Leadership and Communication in Rehab

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02299

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Define leadership and various leadership styles

2. Identify successful leadership styles in healthcare/rehab

3. Implement effective leadership communication strategies in rehab

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The New World of Rehab: Addressing Burnout

A 1-hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02035

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition by another state board of PT (NY)

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Identify the causes of rehab burnout

2. Recognize the signs of rehab burnout

3. Apply strategies to prevent/reduce rehab burnout

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After on-demand purchase you will be redirected to a webpage with the video link/posttest link. A CEU certificate will be emailed following post-test completion