Respond to 2 peer post (75-150 words). Cite the text when appropriate for the discussion prompt above. Cite at least two relevant peer-reviewed journal articles to achieve maximum points for this assignment. (Articles may be cited in either your initial posting or your responses to peers.) Be sure that you have addressed all parts of the required response.
When you respond to peers, respond as if you were dialoguing with them, so be sure that your posts are related to their initial postings. Your posting needs to deepen the discussion by adding an additional perspective, sharing new information, or asking an additional question to get your colleague to think more critically about the issue – it should not be a new posting on your part that doesn’t connect to the initial posting or a mere “I agree with everything you’ve said” statement.
Prior to submitting your posts, check them for appropriate grammar, usage and spelling. In the field of social work it is important to be able to communicate effectively when writing as well as when speaking. Errors in these areas will result in a lower grade for your discussion posts.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics states it “is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers”. It is expected that every social worker should perform under the NASW Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics was designed to not only protect the client, but to also protect the social worker ethically and legally. It has a specific professional code that is guided by six basic ethical principals to provide protection to the client and professional (Zastrow, 2016).
As we look at the questions that arise with the Bruff v. North Mississippi Health Services, Inc. (2001) case, we realize that all questions revolve around the principles outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics. A person with high self-efficacy, as I feel that I do, will feel as though conflicts of religious beliefs with the client will not have an effect on the services being provided to the client (Alessi, 2015). The Code of Ethics states that social workers should have some knowledge of their clients’ cultures and beliefs, and to also obtain education and understanding of “the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, etc.”. This strongly advises that a social worker has the ability to provide services without judgement and comparison to ones’ own beliefs. This would make it possible to provide services to a client even though the social worker’s beliefs are different than those of the clients.
I believe that social workers can still provide positive, effective services with having major differences in beliefs. If one does not feel that they can provide adequate services needed to help the client, then a referral is needed at that point in time.If at anytime the services provided would cause more harm to the client, the client should then be referred out and services terminated (NASW Code of Ethics, 2017).
There are many ways that the Code of Ethics protects the professional from an ethical or legal violation. One of the most important responsibilities is obtaining an informed consent to provide services. The informed consent will inform the client of the purpose and risks of the services, along with costs, alternatives, and right to refuse or withdraw from the services (NASW Code of Ethics, 2017). It also requires that all social workers perform within their scope of practice. One can only practice in a nonjudgmental, unbiased mindset with the full commitment being the well-being of the client. It provides a guideline of referring and/or terminating services with a client should a conflict of interest arise that halts or harms the client during services (NASW Code of Ethics, 2017).
While now having a better understanding of the Code of Ethics I feel that Bruff did not handle the situation at hand in an ethical manner. I believe that Bruff could have possibly caused more harm to the client by refusing to counsel due to her personal beliefs and not following the Code of Ethics for referral to seek counseling with someone whom could set aside their personal beliefs and provide services without judgement.
Alessi, E. J., Dillon, F. R., & Kim, H. M.-S. (2015). Determinants of lesbian and gay affirmative practice among heterosexual therapists. Psychotherapy, 52(3), 298-307. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038580
National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/about/ethics/code-of…
Zastrow, Charles H., Kirst-Ashman, Karen K., & Hessenauer, Sarah L. (2019). Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Boston, MA: Cengage.
In reading the Bruff v. North Mississippi Health Services court case it was quite an eye raiser. In terms of the case I see the argument in both perspectives. However, this case and the questions raised from it all boil down to upholding the code of ethics.
Bruff v. North Mississippi Case
As outlined in the textbook, the code of ethics boils down to helping people in need, challenging social injustice, respecting people, respecting the value of relationships, being truthful, and being competent (Zastrow., Kirst-Ashman, & Hessenauer, 2019). One can say Bruff was honoring the code in being truthful with the clients, but she violated the other five values of the code of ethics. Overall Bruff was not upholding the code of ethics.
Due to Bruff’s negligent practice, this could have had serious ramifications on the client she was working with. Bruff caused more harm to the client than if the client had never sought services as she was discriminatory towards the client. Bruff should be held accountable for her actions as this could potentially cause the client to never want to seek services again which would be detrimental to the client’s mental health.
What is Ethical in the Practice as a Social Worker?
In moving forward as a community it is vital that we take this scenario and utilize it as a learning lesson. Though a social worker may have different beliefs than their client, they can still provide adequate care. A huge component to this is upholding the code of ethics by being culturally competent and practicing cultural humility. Cultural humility is seen as personal reflection and growth in culture in order to increase cultural awareness (Zastrow., Kirst-Ashman, & Hessenauer, 2019). When utilizing these two practices it allows for both the awareness of the social workers biases and the knowledge of clients values.
Researchers Harrison and Turner studied the effectiveness of services between providers and clients. Harrison and Turner’s (2011) results show that cultural awareness is vital along with content base knowledge, critical thinking, openness, reflection, respect and non-judgmental in order to effectively provide adequate services to clients with different backgrounds. These other components can all be found within the code of ethics.
Personal Future as a Social Worker
Reflecting on this case allows me to reflect on my own personal values and how I wish to move forward in my career. As a social worker, I plan to practice cultural competency and cultural humility in order to be stronger in my own knowledge of myself and others. This will allow me to help those in need even if we have differences as I am here to serve those in need who cannot help themselves regardless of their sexual orientation, race, sex, etc.
In future practice I plan to not disclose my personal beliefs and cultural values to my client, because my personal issues should not interfere with their need. I feel as if ethically disclosing all of my personal information may be of some sort of violation ethically/legally as it may be more prejudicial than probative. According to Reamer (2006), disclosing information is a complex situation as it can lead up to being a boundary issue. If any information is disclosed it should be only if is beneficial in strengthening the professional relationship between the social worker and client. In terms of referrals, the only reason a client should be referred out is if I do not have the proper resources or if I have a conflict of interest like a dual relationship.
All in all, this article was enlightening on my reflection on the practice of social worker and how I wish to practice. Though I wish to practice in this field it is vital that I am doing more good than harm to clients. I hope in going forward I will be able to continue upholding the code of ethics, reflect on my own personal limitations, and continue helping those in need within my parameters.
Harrison, G., & Turner, R. (2011). Being a ‘culturally competent’ social worker: Making sense of a murky concept in practice. The British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), 333-350.
Reamer, F. G. (2006). Self-disclosure in clinical social work. Social Work Today. Retrieved from: https://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_1106.shtm…
Zastrow, C. H., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L. (2019, Eleventh Edition). Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Boston, MA: Cengage.
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