ethical challenges facing social workers

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The study was accepted by both government and the profession as providing a … Oftentimes, individuals are driven to pursue a social work career because of personal experience. (2017). There is a wide variety of internal challenges social workers must tackle in order to ensure they are practicing ethically and effectively. Social workers gave their personal account details to relatives so they could transfer the money needed, enabling the social workers to withdraw the monies through an ATM (cash machine). A Nigerian social worker reported that during the pandemic there was no cash withdrawal from the banks and therefore the relatives of hospital patients were unable to pay for services in the hospital. The purpose is to reflect about the effects of deep social and economic changes we are facing nowadays, on the professional practices of social workers in India, focusing particularly on the new ethical challenges and dilemmas social workers face on their daily duties. But the system we have needs to step up further with or without Covid. The social worker: “decided not to ask my manager for authorisation to do this … Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission”. This meant de-prioritising work with children in need, who would usually have been offered early help services, so potential warning signs of abuse and neglect may go unnoticed, and children in need might become children at risk without a social worker knowing. Other ethical concerns are also explored: confidentiality and privacy, conflicts with commanders, relationships and boundaries, and diagnosis and treatment. Acknowledging and handling emotions, fatigue and the need for self-care, when working in unsafe and stressful circumstances. A social worker in Costa Rica described having to assess convicted drug dealers to inform decisions about whether to change their sentences. Then, they can establish a method for gently guiding clients to a more productive course of action in a way that minimizes impact on morale. By Susan Kreimer, MS, contributor. Using the lessons learned from working during the pandemic to rethink social work in the future. 8 Ethical dilemmas that make healthcare a tough industry to work in Taking the oath is as easy as lip service, carrying it out is the hard part of the job. Each social worker has to be both a micro and a macro person. Decades from now, social workers are likely to recall 2020 as the year their lives were transformed by COVID-19, aka coronavirus. Balancing service user rights, needs and risks against personal risk to social workers and others, in order to provide services as well as possible. Ethical challenges included the following: maintaining trust, privacy, dignity and service user autonomy in remote relationships; allocating limited resources; balancing rights and needs of different parties; deciding whether to break or bend … Ethical decision making is critically important in hospice social work. A social worker in Spain who was working with women experiencing serious issues relating to prostitution, sexual abuse and gender violence had been available 24 hours a day to facilitate women´s access to the emergency centre. In all of these contexts, social workers are encountering complex, sometimes unprecedented, ethical challenges. Discuss ethical dilemmas and challenges with colleagues or professional associations, gaining different perspectives on possible decisions and talking through options for action. Social workers face ethical and moral dilemmas throughout their careers. 70, Special Issue: eProfessionalism and the Ethical Use of Technology in Social Work, with Guest Editors Donna McAuliffe and Sharlene Nipperess, pp. 172-184. A Japanese social worker working in a centre for people with disabilities reported that some service users could not fully comprehend Covid-19 risks and behavioural restrictions were stressful for them. Develop guidance together with frontline social workers about how to operate safely and ethically, including guidelines for ethics in remote/digital working and agreeing when it is acceptable for privacy and confidentiality standards to be changed and services restricted, for example. Social workers are of course bound to confidentiality, meaning they cannot discuss client business with anyone else. Understanding of these ethical challenges is relevant to all social workers as they represent an important component of the values,knowledge, and skills germane to the social work profession. Worse still, on many occasions we have contacted many government agencies to seek help for our service users and we have no response”. Many ethical dilemmas arise from a social worker's relationship to a client. I think all teams need to have weekly periods of reflection (virtually given the times we are in) and having an environment where they can offload so that they don’t get emotionally bogged down, feeling unsafe, lonely and under-valued. The study was accepted by both government and the profession as providing a … Ethical dilemmas faced by social work administrators tend to fall into three broad groups. Like healthcare providers and HIPAA, this is a very serious matter that people lose their jobs over, even in the case of accidental breaches. Social workers face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis, Banks illustrates this in her quotation ‘ethical dilemmas occur when the social worker sees herself as facing a choice between two equally unwelcoming alternatives, which may involve a conflict of moral values, and it is not clear which choice will be the right one’ (Banks 2006:13). Acknowledge social workers as key workers and provide them with the necessary protective equipment, digital technology and other resources to do their jobs. A social worker working for an NGO in Taiwan providing relief for disadvantaged households – money, household products and emotional support – reported that this work was even more needed during the pandemic as many people’s income had decreased. I would like to have a discussion first about how the information I provide will be used. If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned”. ... who may be facing physical disabilities or mental health issues. It gives me a good feeling and strengthens me that I am given the confidence to rely on my professionalism”. Many older people in the rural areas are illiterate and religious. Because you touch their heartwarming [role]. Social workers are a very diverse group and face different challenges during the pandemic. This webinar will provide participants with an overview of ethical, malpractice, and risk-management issues pertaining to school social work and the delivery of services to minors and their families. The act of triage is always heart-wrenching, whether performed by doctors in the ICU or social workers on the street, but it is, at heart, an ethical choice: protecting and providing for the weakest and most in need. Ethical dilemma examples in social work include: Remain ethically vigilant, that is, aware of the impact of exhaustion and emotion on social workers’ capacity to see the full ethical implications of a situation and their ability to treat people with respect, empathy and compassion. First, there are ethical dilemmas that arise out of administrators’ oversight of … Registered charity number: CHE-109.240.290, Practising During Pandemic Conditions: Ethical Guidance for Social Workers, To the Top of the Cliff: How social work changed with COVID-19, The Social Work Response to COVID-19 – Six Months On: Championing changes in services and preparing for long-term consequences, Femicides: When you live with the murderer. Ethical dilemmas leave social workers using careful consideration to choose between two unwelcome alternatives relating to human welfare (Banks, 1995). The paper argues for a relational approach to ethics which includes solidarity, relational autonomy, duty, equity, trust and reciprocity as core values. The motivation to become a social worker might be rooted in a … Brescia University’s online social work degree programs can help, providing the necessary training for individuals who choose to pursue careers where they can assist those in need. Intensify efforts to collect evidence from social workers and social work organisations about conditions for social workers and service users, and advocate strongly with employers and governments for recognition of social work roles and better guidance for maintaining services. These considerations make things incredibly complex and impacts how social workers do their jobs. However, some challenges arise from the social worker’s own internal experience as she interacts with client systems. July 7, 2010 - Providing good patient care and avoiding harm are the cornerstones of ethical practice. Those that do have a typical contract may find their work extending beyond these hours. The senior social workers decided to serve as role models and take the lead to conduct home visits. While resources are available to help social workers facing ethical dilemmas, education is the best way to prepare for these common situations. Worried that the chat history might be captured, the service user ended the session and asked to return to the worker he had first contacted. B) maintaining a sustainable environment. A French social worker stressed the need for careful reflection about different types of distance, and that distance imposed by regulations may be problematic, whereas ‘ethical distance’ that involves stepping back to allow people to make their own decisions is important. And it is anti-empowering”. The social workers involved nevertheless decided to evaluate the situation in the community, with health precautions, because they did not want to make biased judgments. 85) Among the ethical and social challenges facing operations managers are A) honoring financial commitments. Ethical Challenges will not provide specific answers for the specific dilemmas that people face but will help readers bring to conscious awareness some understandings that help in thinking through ethical issues. Interviews would usually be conducted with the person in their community context, but during pandemic conditions this was difficult. This article identifies and discusses ethical issues facing social workers in integrated health care settings, especially related to informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, boundaries, dual relationships, and conflicts of interest. Issue clear guidelines on how to maintain social work services during a pandemic, keeping services open, while operating as effectively and safely as possible. An ethical dilemma is when a social worker must choose between two options where there is a conflict of ethical principles. She chose to “walk the thin line” and meet service users with the highest needs in town. April 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Social work leaders, Workforce. Through in-depth interviews, researchers explored ethical dilemmas faced by 14 hospice social workers and the processes they used to move toward resolution. The crux of the Hippocratic Oath, to “do no harm” is indeed easier said than done. Workers in a Hong Kong home and community care service decided to prioritise medical escort services for hospital out-patient visits only for people with no family members available to do this, and provided shower facilities at the centre for volunteers. IHCS maximize integrated, holistic care by integrating behavioral health into a health setting. The research findings highlight strong commonalities on the challenges that social workers are facing as essential workers in the fight against COVID-19. Recognise the critical role played by social workers in providing and supporting social and community-based care, which is as vital as health care in enabling individuals, families and communities to function during a pandemic. The various professions in these IHCS teams come at relevant ethical issues from different value stances and different levels of power. Emotionally I felt powerless because of the pandemic condition, grateful for the availability of the resource and guilty because of the potential risk of contagion.”, A social worker in a social welfare centre in Greece reflected on the inadequacies of welfare support for citizens facing turmoil, and the implications of this for social work support: “This new normality requires a high sense of ethics and empathy, towards citizens that are worried about the situation afterwards … awareness and vigilance is much more preferred than the comfort of being complacent and stagnant.”. Additionally, in 2011, youth depression in the U.S. was at 8.5 percent. Eighty-two per cent of UASC applicants were male and Afghanistan remained the country of origin for the largest number of asylum-seeking children, accounting for 30 per cent of UASC applications. Prioritising service user needs and demands, which are greater and different due to the pandemic, when resources are stretched or unavailable and full assessments are often impossible. Sarah Banks (Coordinator), Durham University, UK,, Tian Cai (Research Assistant), Durham University, UK,, Ed de Jonge, University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, Netherlands,, Michelle Shum, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong,, Ana M. Sobočan, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia,, Kim Strom, University of North Carolina, USA,, Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General,, María Jesús Úriz, Public University of Navarra, Spain,, Merlinda Weinberg, Dalhousie University, Canada, Merlinda.Weinberg@Dal.Ca, Teresa Bertotti, University of Trento, Italy, The needs of the poor and socially disadvantaged are highlighted. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 1 in 10 children has a serious mental health issue. Ethical Challenges of Military Social Workers Serving in a Combat Zone Catherine A. Simmons and Joan R. Rycraft Often faced with ethical challenges that may appear extraordinary, military social workers comprise a distinctive subgroup of the social work profession. A UK hospital social worker commented: “These are stressful times to front line social workers. IFSW Secretary-General Rory Truell commented, “Social workers throughout the world have taken swift action and played a significant role in reducing the effects of the virus. One of the workers on the Asian Women’s Project she has recently joined to help with her feelings of isolation has … She felt close to the family and wanted to be supportive. Revisit the ethical values and principles outlined in the international statement on ethics and national codes of ethics. A major review by Prof Eileen Munro in 2011 outlined the multiple issues facing social work. The British Association of Social Workers is the professional association for social workers in the United Kingdom (UK). E) all of the above. A social worker in India reported difficulties in addressing the needs of inter-state migrants at their starting points and in transit, as donors focus on distributing help at the final destination. One such challenge is the social … Ensure all social workers and social work students on placement are supported through regular supervision and team meetings, with opportunities to share ethical dilemmas and challenges and discuss together alternative courses of action and priorities. But the one-way traffic of social help causes dependency, erosion of community and networks. How social workers can tackle the ethical and practice challenges of Covid-19: guidance from PSWs The pandemic is exacerbating existing sources of need and making it harder for practitioners to meet them. Social Media and Social Work: The Challenges of a New Ethical Space. The social worker was touched by the parents’ sentiments and their poignant request. However, the social worker, together with his colleagues, was worried at the risks they faced to their own health and wellbeing as their manager insisted they should conduct home visits. The Code is not designed to provide a detailed set of rules about how social workers should act in specific situations or practice guidance. How social workers can tackle the ethical and practice challenges of Covid-19: guidance from PSWs The pandemic is exacerbating existing sources of need and making it harder for practitioners to meet them. Ethical principles are standards of a group, organization, or profession that direct courses of action on behalf of the profession’s agents – in this case, social workers. StudentShare . The dilemmas were integrated into a framework focused on the sources of … Social work professionals are introduced to cases centered on violence, substance abuse, isolation, inequality and more. A Canadian social worker reported a triple edged choice about whether to place a service user in respite hospital care. One has to face a bitter challenge to do a social work in this perspective. An ethical dilemma is when a social worker must choose between two options where there is a conflict of ethical principles. The dilemmas were integrated into a framework focused on the sources of … The range of responsibilities for social workers continues to grow exponentially, but the number of employees doesn’t grow. Australian Social Work: Vol. Ethical decision making is critically important in hospice social work. A Slovenian social worker reported difficulties in deciding what was urgent. The roles and responsibilities of shelter and outreach staff are only viable if they are in step with ethical and moral imperatives to work with vulnerable people with dignity and compassion, and without judgment. However, a service user was suspicious when this social worker took over counselling from a colleague, and had consulted the chat history. There is no easy answer, and sometimes there is no right answer. The ethical dilemmas that social workers encounter in practice can be placed Into three broad categories: direct service to individuals and families, design and implementation of social welfare policy and programs, and relationships among professional colleagues. Healthcare workers want to do the right thing, but it isn’t always clear how they should proceed. A UK social worker discussed the removal of structure and routines caused by the pandemic, giving the example of a 15 year-old girl living in a local authority children’s home who was used to managing anger by frequently walking around neighbourhood.

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