Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC (Faculty member, and Sr. TA) is a graduate of Stockton University with a BS in Biology (2007) and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (2009). Mora authored and instructs Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals and Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens.
When I used to hear the word “ethics requirement,” I would wrinkle my nose and find the cheapest, quickest course to fulfill my New Jersey requirement. I would sit through it and count down the hours. It was not out of a lack of respect for the continuing educator or the importance of the material. I just felt, no matter how the material was presented it was just dry and did not feel like it applied to my more niched areas of practice.
As I dove deeper into pelvic floor treatment and the pelvic floor community, I realized there was such a need for us to have these conversations on the topic of ethics. A lot of questions posted on social media forums and groups have an underlying ethical component and practitioners are not necessarily aware. The more I researched, the more I realized these topics are so complex and can be very interesting when applied to the daily life of a pelvic health provider
Let’s talk about how you can know if something has an ethical component or concern. There are a variety of tests and measures to assess ethical situations and we review these in the class Ethical Concerns for the Pelvic Health Professional. If you are wondering if some of the clinical questions you have are actually founded in ethics you may find yourself asking questions like the following.
One of my favorite ways to assess an ethical question is by using the Kidder’s Ethical Decision Making Model. The fourth step of this model includes four checkpoints that can be helpful for quick clinical questions. These give us an idea of ways to recognize right versus wrong in scenarios and how we can correct or act accordingly. The four tests proposed by kidder are “The Legal Test,” “The Stench Test,” “The Front Page Test” and “The Mom Test” (Ferrier, 2021). If an ethical concern does not pass one of these tests, it does not have merit as an ethical course of action. If something doesn’t pass these tests, the right versus wrong aspect is a moral temptation and a person has to decide which option they would like to choose. We all have different moral compasses and backgrounds and so each person’s comfort level with these decisions may be different.
If a scenario arises, we start with “The Legal Test.” This is where we think about whether an action (or inaction) is legal or not. This may require some research or consultation if we do not know the answers. “The Stench Test” tests a person’s inner moral intuition. How does it feel with how you have been raised and when referenced against your moral foundation? “The Front Page Test” encourages a person to theorize how they would feel if the ethical situation they are thinking about were to be on the front page of a newspaper. It is a publicity test, do you want that to be how the world sees you, your clinic, your practice, your skills, etc? “The Mom Test” makes us reference all those who have been moral examples or might pass judgment on decisions we make (Ferrier, 2021).
Knowing these tests, look at the scenarios at the end of this blog. Imagine how you might run through the four Kidder Tests clinically. This can be great practice for clinical decision making. Like any skill, the more we practice, the more confident we are in the skill and the easier it is to do the task.
Ultimately with ethical decision making, there is a lot more “grey area” and “it depends” answers than there are clear cut scenarios. We can be much more comfortable with the decisions we make based on how we have examined the information and considered all options and outcomes. One of the positives of this class, Ethical Concerns for the Pelvic Health Professional - January 29, 2023, is having an audience of peers to talk through real clinical concerns and situations to problem solve and get input on things that may be weighing on a provider.
Scenario 1: Your patient comes in and tells you that their partner yells at them on a regular basis and controls how they can spend their money.
Scenario 2: A patient tells you that their practitioner forced them to have a pelvic examination without explaining the procedure and continued after the patient asked them to stop.
Scenario 3: You have been invited to an affiliate program with a popular medical device company. You have the opportunity to make $15 for every patient care item you can sell in your clinic.
Ferrier, Patricia. Applying Kidder's ethical decision making model - in this article, the author uses a model of. Studocu. (2021). Retrieved December 26, 2022, from https://www.studocu.com/en-us/document/florida-institute-of-technology/introduction-to-behavior-analysis/applying-kidders-ethical-decision-making-model/20045486
Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 6
Description: The purpose of this class is to explore the ethical challenges Pelvic Health Practitioners may experience including consent, managing trauma and abuse, and preventing misconduct. This includes basic decisions for billing, patient care, safety, and compliance. Pelvic Rehabilitation comes with additional layers of vulnerability and ethical challenges due to the anatomical areas being treated, topics being discussed, and intimacy of sessions
Faculty member, and Sr. TA, Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC is a graduate of Stockton University with a BS in Biology (2007) and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (2009). Mora authored and instructs Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals and Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens.
With the end of 2022 approaching, now is the perfect time to take a pelvic health-focused ethics class. For many states, licensed professionals have to fulfill an ethics continuing education requirement, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health, and many other healthcare providers.
I started writing this series a year ago. I struggled to find a class to meet my biannual ethics requirement for New Jersey that was related to my practice in pelvic health. I soon realized that as a pelvic health provider and educator, the most popular questions that come up for practitioners, secondary only to specific treatment interventions, are ethical in nature.
Providers want to know that they are providing services that are legal and ethical. Even if you have never considered yourself as being overly concerned with the topic of ethics, you have probably had these thoughts. That was certainly the case for me! The further I fell down the rabbit hole of ethics, the more I realized it affects our day-to-day clinical life minute by minute. Ethics is the study of right versus wrong and how we make those personal qualifying decisions. So this covers everything from cleaning procedures, scheduling, patient care, and more!
Practitioners want to know that they will not be open to any legal action for the care and services provided. This usually requires more awareness and knowledge than just purchasing an annual liability insurance policy. Each provider and clinical environment has their own ethos, policies, and procedures, but there are also larger existing rules and laws to help guide providers to provide the best possible care.
In Ethical Concerns for the Pelvic Health Professional, we discuss the basics of doing no harm to our patients, obtaining informed consent, and decision-making based on different ethical models. The goal here is to send you to work immediately following this class feeling more confident in ethical labeling and decision-making. This class is a more global and essential look at the concept of ethics as applied to pelvic health.
The sole purpose of Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens is to explore the ethical challenges pelvic health practitioners may experience from a health law perspective. This course is for any pelvic health professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions with a specific focus on legalities and related concepts.
This series of ethics-related classes is meant to build your clinical character and problem-solving abilities in what feels like "sticky" situations and help to guide you to clinical and business decisions that make you feel comfortable at the end of a work day.
To sweeten up this class series, each offering has an expert join the discussion on certain topics and case studies, to offer additional perspectives and points of view to the discussion.
I am looking forward to having an open discussion about the ethical and legal considerations for our profession at the next offered class on December 10th, 2022!
Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 6
Description: This one-day remote course covers ethical considerations from a legal lens for professionals working in the area of Pelvic Health. In general, Health Care Professionals have many day-to-day ethical considerations to “do no harm.” This includes basic decisions for billing, patient care, safety, and compliance. Pelvic Rehabilitation comes with additional layers of vulnerability and ethical challenges, and the legalities of pelvic health can add further complications for patient care, business, and clinical practice decisions.
The purpose of this class is to explore the ethical challenges Pelvic Health Practitioners may experience from a health law perspective. This course is for any Pelvic Health Professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions with a specific focus on the legalities and related concepts. Prior to the live aspect of this course, participants will be asked to review the ethical framework and definitions via pre-recorded lecture and take Core Values Self Assessment. Live instruction will review applicable health laws and legal terms that converge with the pelvic health world. This will be followed by case study discussion in small groups, followed by a large group discussion with input from the instructor and a legal expert/ educator. The remainder of this course is meant to be a guided discussion through the legal and ethical struggles of the pelvic health practitioner.
Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals - Remote Course
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 6
Description: This course is for any Pelvic Health Professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions, and explores the ethical challenges practitioners may experience including consent, managing trauma and abuse, and preventing misconduct. Prior to the live aspect of this course, participants will be asked to review the ethical framework and definitions via pre-recorded lecture and take Core Values Self Assessment. Live instruction will review the ways in which patients and practitioners can be vulnerable in the pelvic health treatment setting and how to address this. This will be followed by case study discussion in small groups, followed by large group discussion with input from the instructor and an ethics expert/ educator. The remainder of this course is meant to be a guided discussion through the ethical struggles of the pelvic health practitioner
Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC sat down this week with Holly Tanner in an interview to discuss her new courses, Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals and Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens. She is a pelvic therapist who works in an outpatient clinic, has her own side company (Practically Perfect PT), has written 2 books available on Amazon, and is a senior TA and faculty member with Herman & Wallace. Mora joins the Herman & Wallace faculty with her new course series in ethics: Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals and Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens.
What are your core values as a pelvic health practitioner? Depending on your practitioner license these may include (1):
Annual CEU requirements for license renewals don’t just look at hands-on skills. Many states also require a number of ethics credits including California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, and Utah (2). In her interview, Mora Pluchino explains that one day she and her colleague were at lunch talking about course options for their ethics CEU requirement. They had taken the same course over and over at Stockton University and wanted to do something different this time. This led to Mora reaching out to Herman & Wallace and Holly Tanner who helped her start writing the course. Mora’s new courses focus on this ethics requirement, provide 6 contact hours, and registration is $175.00 for each:
What should you expect from an ethics course? Mora breaks down the Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals course and shares that there is about an hour of pre-course video lectures to watch, then the live course involves “a little bit of lecture in relation to pelvic health and ethics, and then there will be some case studies and group work. After this, an ethical expert will come in and do live question/answers with us.”
These courses are to really make practitioners comfortable with these ethical and moral issues. Mora explains, “I really want practitioners who take this course to understand and know where to find information about those issues that come up with their boss, their organization, their patients, or themselves. A lot of times, ethical situations just make us just know instinctively that something doesn’t feel right.” Holly follows up with “Sometimes these situations can make us feel embarrassed, and maybe we contributed or didn’t contribute in the right way to a scenario. We don’t always bring them up to other people out of this embarrassment, or we just don’t know which pathway to take.”
A lot of common questions have an ethical component such as “How do I bill for this,” “How do I tell my boss I can’t do this,” or even “Can I reuse a biofeedback sensor?” Mora shares, “Sometimes, as a practitioner you can feel pressured to do (or not do) something, and you don’t know how to say no. With these courses, you will be able to give clear reasons such as it’s in my guidelines, in my practice act, and core values as being a PT or OT.” She further expands on this, “We have all of these people working for us in the APTA and AOTA that are creating all of these ethical guidelines and all of this information to give us the support.”
The ethics topics are broken down into two courses, with the first course Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals focused specifically on people who treat pelvises scheduled for June 18, 2022. The second course, Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens, is scheduled for December 10, 2022, and deals with the legalities and rights of health care providers. Some questions that are touched on during lectures include abandonment of care and discrimination. Mora also shares that a lot of the ethics courses she has taken are “from the perspective of therapists that are abusing their patients, but when you work in pelvic health world you realize it can go the other way too, or it can be a back and forth kind of thing.”
To learn more, and fulfill that ethics CEU requirement, join H&W and Mora Pluchino this summer in Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals on June 18th or this winter in Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens scheduled for December 10th.
H&W is proud to be able to present a new remote course on ethics from new faculty member, and Sr. TA, Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC. Mora is a graduate of Stockton University with a BS in Biology (2007) and Doctorate of Physical Therapy (2009). She has been working at Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation ever since graduation and has experience in a variety of areas and settings, working with children and adults, including orthopedics, bracing, neuromuscular issues, vestibular issues, and robotics training.
Mora began treating Pelvic Health patients in 2016 and has experience treating women, men, and children with a variety of Pelvic Health dysfunction. In 2020, she opened her own "after hours" virtual practice called Practically Perfect Physical Therapy Consulting to help meet the needs of more clients and has been a guest lecturer for Rutgers University Blackwood Campus and Stockton University for their Pediatric and Pelvic Floor modules and has been a TA with Herman & Wallace since 2020 with over 150 hours of lab instruction experience. Mora authored and instructs Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals.
● You are a new graduate, and your employer sends you to Pelvic Floor Level 1 and expects you to start up a Pelvic Health Program at the facility. Your first scheduled patient is a diagnosis you didn’t learn about and don’t feel comfortable treating, but your student loan payments have started, and you need this job.
● The word has gotten out and referrals are flowing into your clinic after hearing what a life-changing service your Pelvic Health program provides. You have a 6 month long waiting list and your front desk person asks you how to organize the list. Options include prioritizing based on the severity of issues, first come/ first serve, based on past history with the facility, etc.
Put yourself in these situations and reflect. How would you feel? What would you do? All of the situations above have a common theme. They present Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals. Ethical situations are very common in day-to-day practice for any health care professional. Treating in the pelvic region can add additional complications due to the level of intimacy and vulnerability in this care.
Ethics by definition is “the division of philosophy concerned with how a person should behave in a matter that is considered morally correct or good” that gives us standards, virtues, and rules (Boone, 2017). The professional code of ethics for each professional category and is grounded in virtue ethics. Virtue ethics includes four main concepts including balance of harms and benefits, doing no harm, justice, and autonomy (Kirsch, 2005)
Whether a practitioner is a physical therapist/ physical therapist assistant, occupational therapist, psychologist, social worker, nurse, doctor, or physician’s assistant, their governing professional organization will have a code of ethics and conduct to help guide these practitioners in good decision making. There are many ethical decision-making models to help guide an individual through the process of identifying, defining, examining, and then problem solving any ethical occurrence.
The RIPS Model, originally presented by Arlanian, Swisher & Davis in 2005, presents an ethical framework to help guide practitioners through the steps needed to address ethical concerns. The world of ethical decision-making is typically one of many options, typically being more “gray area” than simply “black” and “white.” Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals is designed to help make these decisions easier to define, examine, discuss, and address so we can have these tough conversations!
Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals is a one-day remote course that covers ethical considerations for professionals working in the area of Pelvic Health. In general, Health Care Professionals have many day-to-day ethical considerations to “do no harm.” This includes basic decisions for billing, patient care, safety, and compliance. The purpose of this class is to explore the ethical challenges Pelvic Health practitioners may experience including consent, managing trauma and abuse, and preventing misconduct. To learn more join us in Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals on June 18, 2022!
Boone, B. (2017). Ethics 101: From altruism and utilitarianism to bioethics and political ethics, an exploration of the concepts of right and wrong. Adams Media.
Kirsch, N. (2005). Ethics in Physical Therapy: A Case-Based Approach. McGraw Hill Publications. American Physical Therapy Association.
This week The Pelvic Rehab Report is featuring faculty member (and senior TA) Mora Pluchino, teaching assistant Amanda Moe, and faculty member Dawn Sandalcidi on the topic of pediatric issues from infancy through adolescence. Our first guest blogger, Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC has published two books. The first of which is titled The Poop Train: Helping Your Child Understand Their Digestive System. This is a rhyming, kid-friendly book to help children understand how their poop is made. It has resources in the back to help parents and caregivers manage a child's digestive system for optimal function including proper voiding positions, ideas for activities to help voiding, fiber recommendations, fiber-filled food options, and belly massage instructions. Her second book, Practically Perfect Pelvic Health 101: A Visual Tour of the Pelvic Floor is a visual tour of the pelvic floor to help all genders and all ages understand general pelvic health. You can find Mora online at https://www.practicallyperfectpt.com/ and on Instagram @practicallyperfectpt.
As a pelvic health specialist, I treat the pelvic floors for all humans of all ages. I am frequently asked the question “Why would a child need pelvic floor therapy?” The response is “So many reasons!”
Colic, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and constipation are the top reasons for visits to a pediatrician in the first year (Indrio Et Al, 2014). As the mother of a child that struggled with all of these things, I can attest to the quality of life impact these diagnoses can create. A pelvic health specialist can help caregivers to manage these conditions with manual therapy, gross motor development assistance, and other infant care ideas to help manage the infant’s gastrointestinal system for better comfort and function.
Sillen (2001) reports that the neonatal bladder is controlled by neuronal pathways connecting with the cerebral cortex. The neonatal bladder function is characterized by small, frequent voids of varying volumes (Sillen 2001). Preterm infants had slightly different results thought to be due to an immature nervous system and this interrupted voiding disappeared for most as the children approached potty training age (Sillen, 2001). Still, infants born prematurely may be more at risk for pelvic floor issues!
What does this mean? There is a certain point in every child’s life where the bladder function, nervous system, and cognitive awareness match up. Ideally, this allows them to learn to hold and then void waste on a toilet. When toddlers are seen for pelvic floor issues, it is usually due to problems that arise during the potty training phase if they haven’t carried along with another pelvic floor issue from infancy. Pediatric pelvic floor issues, if not addressed early on, can continue on into preschool and elementary-aged children.
Pediatric Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, instructed by Dawn Salicidi, reviews the basics of pediatric pelvic floor treatment. Pediatric pelvic floor issues can be divided into three categories: storage, voiding, and “other.” Storage issues include things like: increased or decreased voiding frequency, continuous incontinence, intermittent incontinence, enuresis, urgency, nocturia, constipation, and encopresis. Voiding dysfunctions present with hesitancy, straining, weak stream, intermittency, and dysuria. Other pediatric pelvic floor issues include symptoms like excessive holding, incomplete emptying, post micturition dribble, spraying, and pain in the bladder/ urethral/ genital areas.
Pediatric pelvic health requires the knowledge and skills used for treating adults with the additional abilities to relate to the child and their caregivers to help them manage and improve their symptoms. There is no age limit on the benefits of pelvic floor treatment!
Join us on Wednesday for the next installment of the pediatric pelvic floor three-part series: Pee Problems in Pre-Teens and Teens by Amanda Moe, DPT, PRPC. Amanda has written a book, Pelvic PT for ME: Storybook Explanation of Pelvic Physical Therapy for Children. You can find Amanda on Instagram @amandampelvicpt. The series will conclude on Friday with an interview with long-time faculty member, Dawn Sandalcidi PT, RCMT, BCB-PMD. Dawn Sandalcidi is a trailblazer in the field of Pediatric Bowel and Bladder Disorders and can be found on Instagram @kidsbowelbladder.
This week The Pelvic Rehab Report sat down with senior teaching assistant and author, Mora A Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC, to discuss her new book “The Poop Train”. Mora works at the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation and in 2020, she opened her own "after hours" virtual practice called Practically Perfect Physical Therapy Consulting to help meet the needs of more clients. She has been a guest lecturer for Rutgers University Blackwood Campus and Stockton University for their Pediatric and Pelvic Floor modules since 2016, as well as a TA with Herman and Wallace since 2020 with over 150 hours of lab instruction experience!
What or who inspired you to write this book?
My nine-year-old daughter has had issues with constipation since she was two. Our household is no stranger to talking about poop and all things related to poop to manage her tummy issues. I always tried to explain to her the purpose of habits like eating fiber and drinking water, as well as how poop moves through the body. One day my daughter started telling me that her “poop train wasn’t ready to leave the station” and I got the idea for the story!
Can you tell me about your book and the title?
I wanted a title that would be silly but interesting to a child. My goal was to create a book to be easy to read and understand the story about how food enters and leaves our body with resources within and after the book for parents to help manage their child’s bowels. I wanted it to be something that would be fun to read while on the potty, preparing for potty training or if a child is having an issue.
What does your daughter think of “The Poop Train”?
I just asked her and she took my computer over to answer. “I think that you are crazy and you talk about poop way too much! I also think that your book is super cute and even kind of funny. Kids and adults alike are going to love it because it talks about all the parts it needs to but it is not creepy or embarrassing.” - Nina P.
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
I am honestly in love with the illustrations. I had this idea for a few years and couldn’t do anything with it because I’m not good at drawing. I finally connected with the sister of a dear friend who shares my love poop talks and happens to be a talented artist. She brought my idea to life in adorable, inclusive, and simple images!
How do you think writing this book has impacted you as a PT and parent?
Taking Pelvic Floor Level 1 changed my life as a parent. This career path gave me the tools to help my daughter manage her constipation and resultant pelvic floor issues like post-void dribbling and bed-wetting. I wrote this book to help other parents who had similar struggles.
Were there any surprises along this book journey?
Funny story, I proofread my book multiple times along with my husband and a friend. My daughter read the book for the first time and found a TYPO! At that point, it was too late so my book became practically perfect. Hint - the typo is in the resource section!
What advice do you have for other PTs who are interested in writing?
I’d encourage anyone interested in writing something to go for it. Take your idea and nurture it until you can create it! Talk to others if you get stuck. I did this and found the illustrator of my dreams shortly after. And proofread a million times!
Do you think you’ll write another book?
I am finalizing the manuscript for my second pelvic health book. I was so happy with how Elizabeth Wolfe was able to capture the style I wanted that I asked her to work on a second project a few days after we finished our first. “Practically Perfect Pelvic Health 101: A Visual Tour of the Pelvic Floor” will be going to print soon!
How do I get a copy of this book?
Mora Pluchino (She/Her)