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Six purposes of the NASW code of ethics

1.Identifies core values on which social work’s mission is based
2.Summarizes broad ethical principles and establishes specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice
3.Helps social workers identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict
4.Provides ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable
5.Socializes practitioners new to the field
6.Articulates standards that the social work professional can use to assess unethical conduct


Caveats to the Code of Ethics

The Code does not provide a set of rules that prescribe how social workers should act in all situations
Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist
There are other sources of information that social workers may find useful
Instances may arise when social worker’s ethical obligations conflict with agency policies


All people deserve access to the resources they need to deal with life’s problems and to develop to their fullest potential

Elevate service to others over self-interest
Focus on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice
Commit to helping clients securing resources
Develop and implement policies to fulfill unmet needs
Examine personal values and biases that may serve as obstacles


Obstacles the values of service and social justice?

A judgmental attitude by the worker
A clash of values among worker and the client system
Organizational policies
Failure to offer options because the effort involved
Skepticism that services will be effective in helping the client


Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person and recognize the importance of human relationships

Assert that all people have intrinsic value
Practice acceptance and affirmation
Practice a non-judging attitude toward the clients problems
Commit to becoming self-aware of judgments
Understand that trust is paramount to establishing a helping relationship
Affirm the individuality of all people


The value of integrity means that social workers behave in a trustworthy manner

Act honestly
Take responsibility for their own ethical conduct
Accurately represent self and credentials
Treat fellow professionals with respect


The value of competence requires that social workers practice only within their scope of knowledge and ability

Take responsibility for knowing personal limits
Seek knowledge and experience needed to develop expertise
Utilize supervision
Be a lifelong learner and stay abreast of practice-related research
Be alert to personal events or problems that may impact professional competence
Transfer clients when outside domain of expertise


What are key limits to confidentiality?

Supervision and consultation
Client waivers of confidentiality
Danger to self or others
Elderly abuse
Child abuse


As a mandated reporter, who are you required to tell?

Office of Children and Family Services
Tarasoff vs. Regents of the University of California (1976)


Why are professional boundaries important?

-define and distinguish client and social worker roles
-intended to prevent conflict of interest


What should be done when boundaries are threatened?

-to raise them with faculty or supervisors so they can be acknowledged and examined.
-The key in managing boundaries is to be alert to dual relationships, to discuss troubling situations with col-leagues and supervisors, and to take care that the primacy of the helping relationship is preserved in questionable boundary situations (Brownlee, 1996;Erickson, 2001; Reamer, 2001).


Why can they (boundaries) be hard to maintain?

- social workers are empathic, strong desire to help


What concerns are raised by these boundary crossings?

social media
public contact
invitations to important events

-confidentiality issues
-blurred lines
- friend/family with professional
-complications to work relationship


What are some things you can do to ensure that self-determination guides practice?

Provide informed consent
Preserve professional boundaries
Safeguard confidentiality


What is meant by paternalism?

"overriding of a person's wishes or actions through coercion, deception, non-disclosure or information or for the welfare of others."


When does paternalism override self-determination?

-client's young or judged to be incompetent
-irreversible acts such as suicide can be prevented
-interference of the client's actions ensures other freedoms and liberties such as preventing serious crime


What are advanced directives?

-directives operative when patient condition precludes decision making process
-living will, durable power of attorney


What conflicts come up with people around medications and what do you do?

-states have developed elaborate administrative and judicial procedures that must be traversed before an individual can be involuntarily hospitalized and medicated
-diagnosis and placement is not sufficient enough for overriding a person's autonomy