For your professional ethics edification in April

Once a month the ACPE Professional Ethics Commission (PEC) posts a couple of statements from our Code of Professional Ethics for ACPE Members.  Each posting is accompanied by a brief personal reflection from a member of the PEC discussing some ways this person lives these commitments*.  April's statements are:

In relation to other groups, ACPE members:

  1. Maintain good standing in their spiritual/religious tradition
  2. Abide by the professional practice and/or teaching standards of the state, the community, and the institution in which they are employed.  If for any reason they are not free to practice or teach according to conscience, they shall notify the employer and the Executive Director of ACPE.

Julie Hanada, ACPE Certified Educator from St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, comments:

For many of us in the multifaith care environments we minister in, we might need to walk close to the edge of our faith traditions teachings and beliefs. We developed and continually expand our perspectives. We challenge ourselves, and often nudge and support our students to develop critical purchase with conventional positions. As such, our continued relationships with our endorsing faith bodies can affirm this ministry and who we are as religious teachers and leaders in our own faith traditions.

When I began the certification process to become a Certified Educator and started to work on my theory papers, I felt lost and without direction. As a Buddhist, there were just two other Buddhists who were in, or had completed, the certification process, and none who identified from the same Pure Land tradition as mine.

At that time a theology theory paper, as it was called then, was required. At least one of the questions needed to be reworded as it was not relevant to the legacy of the teachings I was asked to write about.   

In my process I leaned on a couple of individuals from my religious association to discuss how to translate, understand and apply what I had learned in my Buddhist studies with my CPE readings. My ACPE peers and educators encouraged me to push the edges of my understanding of the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) as I entered this new environment of ministry. Those from my own religious community challenged me when they felt I was oversimplifying the Dharma, taking too many liberties, or overstepping boundaries. They held me accountable to the religious vows I made when I became ordained. Those conversations deepened and expanded my understandings and practices of Buddhism.

As for item b, I am reminded of when I reported to a person who took issue with me about the diversity of our student population. During the time I worked to educate them on the importance and value of those students, the importance of diversity in the program, and directed them to our policies, as well as the hospital’s policies. Because my conscience felt clear, each time I knew I would not back down on this issue. If necessary, I would have gone to our human resources for more support, and if I needed to end that employment would have also had to report it to ACPE.


*Every situation is unique, and any member should not take action based solely on the comments in the article but to base action on an independent review of the ethical standards applicable to his/her situation.