Buddhist Social Work: A Case Study of the Samrong General Hospital

Announcing: Lovichakorntikul, Petcharat and John Walsh, “Buddhist Social Work: A Case Study of the Samrong General Hospital,” paper presented at the International Buddhist Conference (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya: December 2011), available at: http://www.undv.org/vesak2012/iabudoc/03PetcharatFINAL.pdf.

(I don’t think I have advertised this before.)

Abstract (actually they prefer ‘Prelude’):

Human Resource Development (HRD) is a crucial element in contemporary organizations and determines their future to a significant extent, especially in the healthcare business, which has been changing and developing according to emerging trends such as the problems of insufficiency and the inequitable distribution of healthcare professionals, as well as certain morality and ethical issues. While the public perception is that healthcare professionals who are working to heal patients and save lives must have kind and generous minds, this is not always the case and, in HRD, it remains necessary to develop the minds, attitudes and perceptions of healthcare professionals to be ready to serve others. Many Thai people are very familiar with Buddhism because most ceremonies and ways of life are related to Buddhist cultural practices. Buddhist teachings are implanted into their minds as well as the understanding that their ancestors followed the same methods and principles. Some believe that the nature of belied is changing along with changes in contemporary society, which privileges material goods above spiritual ones. In response, it is necessary to reinvigorate Dhamma teaching so that it speaks more clearly to present generations. This research is, therefore, based on certain Buddhist ethical principles, such as the five precepts (Pañcasīla), the basis of success (Iddhipada 4), the sublime states of mind (Brahmavihāra 4), and meditation. These have been implemented in a Samut Prakan province hospital since its inception. Hospital founders concentrated on creating ethical and potential human resources rather than creating task specific activities. This is a qualitative research study featuring management level and operational level employees in in-depth face-to-face interviews together with a focus group with relevant participants exploring the Buddhist social work scheme in this hospital. Findings and recommendations from the research are presented.


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