El sabio, con corona,
como leon semeja;
la verdad es leona
la mentira es gulpeja.
Sem Tob, 14th century, Spain
Wise people are like lions:
Crowned in truth they hold their ground.
But lying foxes run around.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.
I will not cut for stone,
I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners,
The notion of character, broadly speaking, is embodied in the Hippocratic commitment to “preserve the purity of my life and arts”. It necessitates practicing ethically and living ethically.
The notion of competence—or more specifically working within one’s sphere of competency—is seen in the commitment to “not cut for stone”. Apparently this refers to the surgical removal of things like gall stones or kidney stones. Such practices at that time in 4th century Greece were not part of the purview of medical practitioners.
It bears mentioning that during our work in member care we are often stretched both:
I appreciate the simile of the lion cited above from Rabbi Sem Tob’s heptasyllabic quartet (that sounds serious—well, what I mean is that it is a short poem written in a certain manner :-) Tob's creative gem states that our crowning wisdom is demonstrated through our courage and clarity in speaking/acting truthfully (holding our ground with the truth, not being distracted from our course, and being open to input when the truth is not clear).
Here are three related items--resources--that you will hopefully find helpful. (from Kelly O’Donnell)
1. Some Suggested Ethical Guidelines for the Delivery of Mental Health Services in Mission Settings, Helping Missionaries Grow, (1988) p. 469
**MHPs [mental health practitioners in missions] are dedicated to high standards of competence in the interest of the individuals and mission agencies which they serve. They recognize the limits of their training, experience, and skills, and endeavor to develop and maintain professional competencies. MHPs keep abreast with current professional information and scientific research related to their work in mission settings.
2. Upgrading Member Care: Five Stones for Ethical Practice (2009)
**MCWs are committed to provide the best services possible in the best interests of the people whom they serve…. Character, competence, and compassion are necessary to practice member care well.
3. Member Care Involvement Grid—Strengths and Preferences (2003, adapted)
This grid helps us to identify the “fit” and practice parameters for ourselves and colleagues. This grid is a continuum. It could also be used as part of a simple/informal team building exercise as a way to get to know other MCWs and understand their strengths and preferences. Note that there are many other items that cold be included on this grid. What would you include?
Administration focus/involvement-----People focus/involvement
Working by oneself mostly-----Working as part of a group mostly
Mostly provide member care-----Mostly develop member care
Working groups that Talk/think-----Work groups that “Task”/do
Services as needed/requested-----Systematic/planned services
Local geographic focus-----International geographic focus
One main ministry focus-----Multiple ministry focus
One specialty-----Many specialities
One organization focus------Interagency focus
Connection in a sector-----Connection in many sectors
1. Should the member care field be regulated to better ensure the quality of services and qualifications of service providers? If so, how?
2. How do we measure competence in member care practitioners?
What could be some specific behavioural criteria to consider (so not just academic degrees, titles, job descriptions, time living in another culture etc.)?
3. How could the member care sector build program evaluation/outcome studies/research into the member care field in order to empirically measure the effectiveness of the various types of services/interventions that we provide? Is it appropriate—ethical--to continue providing and developing services without assessing their effectiveness?